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Future of police, firefighters in South Tucson unclear

Posted at 4:35 PM, Apr 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-13 13:23:03-04

The City of South Tucson has a projected $624,000 deficit.

That deficit has left the future of police and firefighters in South Tucson unclear.

"Public safety has been down this road before but it hasn't been cheaper throughout the year," said Sixto Molina, City Manager of South Tucson. 

Molina is trying to shut down rumors to potential layoffs of police and firemen, but he does say that all options are on the table.

"We're seeing what we can do to dispense justice at a cheaper cost," says Molina. 

Through the years, the number of arrests in the city have decreased.

However, the amount to keep someone in prison has increased.

In 2003, the first day of someone's arrest cost the city $72 dollars and $52 everyday after the initial arrest.

In 2016, the number of arrests dropped from 15,000 in 1996 to 3,400, but it now costs $280 for the first day and $85 everyday after the initial arrest.

"Crime is very expensive but it's not how we handle crime but more importantly, prevent crime."

In 2015, firefighters responded to nearly 2,000 medical calls which cost the city around $200,000. 

Molina says, other cities charge insurance companies for their service but South Tucson does not. 

KGUN 9 spoke to people who live and work in South Tucson and they say that public safety is important.

The next city council meeting will be held in May.