The Bowie City Manager said they need to come up with a million dollars to avoid dipping into the city’s reserves, as they work to make up for a major budget shortfall.
The city lost close to a million dollars thanks to a plunge in sales tax returns last year.
At Monday’s council meeting, city leaders are now calling on department heads to make some tough decisions.
Bowie City Councilors recently tasked department heads in many areas to cut a percentage of their budgets within the next month.
Meanwhile, the chiefs of the police and fire departments asked to fill vacant positions.
The police chief said they have two vacancies but need at least one filled to keep up with their crime solving assistant agency. The council made a motion to accept the request.
The fire chief also made a request to hire another EMT. He it would cut the overtime his employees are putting in, while covering for the vacant position. Councilors did not sign off on that request and said it would be cheaper for the city to pay the current overtime rates, than to add another EMT to the staff.
City Manager Ricky Tow said these kinds of conversations are just the beginning as the city tries to get out of the red.
“It’s not going to be an employee reduction all the way through,” Tow said. “Some of this is going to have to be it revenue generated, so that’s the reason a combination was given on several of these items, was a combination of reduction with an additional fee structure added to some of these.”
Tow said throughout the budget process they are hoping to save as many jobs as possible.
A few councilors also expressed their thanks to both the fire and police departments. They said they would try to keep everyone employed because of the important role they play in protecting Bowie citizens.