The department typically hires eighteen to twenty firefighters a year, but due to the early retirements there could be more this year. By replacing the higher paid veteran firefighters with new recruits, the city is hoping to cut expenses. Fire Chief Derek Bergsten says the city is cutting their budget from a little over 38 million last year to 37.5 million this year. To fit the budget Bergsten has had to be creative because over ninety percent of that budget goes to personnel costs.
"It is considerably less and we are trying to stay within those constraints by watching our overtime and any other expenses that we have control over." says Bergsten
The fire department is still going to be eight men short. They are currently taking applications and so far about 450 have applied. This is about 200 less than normal.