BAKER (WBRZ) - Thousands of people in Baker could lose their fire protection in November, which is when the fire chief plans to close one of their two stations due to budget cuts.
The Lavey Lane fire station will close Nov. 1 if funds aren't found to keep it open, and the cash shortage is forcing every department in Baker to also cut back.
The problem is a half-cent sales tax which passed back in 2001 isn't generating enough money to cover the costs of salaries and equipment. Since the money isn't there, the city has been forced to dip into its general fund to make up the difference.
"Response time to this area is going to be a little bit more. It's not that critical but it's a little bit more longer response time," said Chief Danny Edwards.
The closure of the Lavey Lane fire station could cause the city to lose its Class 2 fire rating.
"Closing this station or laying off our contract employee could make us drop into a Class 3. It would affect homeowners anywhere from $45 a year," said Chief Edwards.
That's not exactly what residents in Baker want to hear.
"That is concerning simply because the population of a city the size of Baker could probably use more than one fire station just for the accessibility and response time," said Kristi Cross.
Mayor Harold Rideau says these cuts are to prevent more drastic cuts down the line but says he can't promise there won't be anymore cuts.