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Baker budget issues could lead to layoffs

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BAKER - Public safety could be on the chopping block in the city of Baker as city officials look for ways to cut the budget for next year.

Mayor Harold Rideau says by the end of the year the city might be in the hole more than $900,000. He says increased expenses and low sales tax revenue are to blame for the shortfall.

One way the council is looking at cutting costs is cutting department budgets by 21 percent. That would require the Baker Police Department to layoff 7 officers.

Chief Mike Knaps says that's not an option.

"If I lay off seven people, I can't patrol this city and give the people what they're use to getting. It will be very hard. We will role from call to call and not have any patrol. I refuse to do it," Knaps said.

The council and mayor will meet Monday to work out a balanced budget for next fiscal year, Which begins July 1.

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