Halifax's rural fire reserve and plans for a new fire truck could be hacked as the city's fire service looks for cost cutting measures in next year’s budget.
Fire officials will propose a $58-million budget to city on Wednesday.
Fire Chief Doug Trussler says it's mainly a stand pat budget while the department gears up for major changes over the next five to 10 years. Salary and administration costs are up, but there is also $2.4 million in cuts.
The proposed budget includes the elimination of a rural fire reserve that the department says is no longer needed and a one-year delay to replace a fire truck.
The reserve account was set up for vehicles or repair rural fire stations. Trussler said vehicle repairs are now handled by the fleet division and the building fixes are manged by public works.
He described the fire service's fiscal picture as in a holding pattern. Their fire master plan will be ready this spring.
“It’s a comprehensive review of all our operations. We're looking at the services we provide, the level of services we provide,” Trussler said
It'll include a redistribution of existing fire stations as well as a proposal for growing areas.
Trussler said any changes will need council’s approval.
“We’re looking at management options for the next three, five maybe even 10 years, especially when it deals with the relocation of a fire station. Those aren't things that are done overnight,” he said.
Halifax has 52 fire stations and more than 1,000 full-time and volunteer firefighters across the municipality.