- Associated Press - Friday, August 8, 2014

VINCENNES, Ind. (AP) - A southwestern Indiana fire department that finally got out of the red could be in trouble again next year.

Vincennes City Council President Duane Chattin tells the Vincennes Sun-Commercial (https://bit.ly/1zRqVPt ) that revenue projections indicate the department will need to make cuts or find a new funding source if it’s to stay in the black next year.

The department finished in the red for years before Mayor Joe Yochum took office. Cuts made by the previous administration, a transfer of money from the Board of Works and some unspent pension money have helped the department get by.

But declining valuation in the fire district and statewide property tax caps are pinching the department once again.

Fire Chief Gordon Becher said the department’s expenses are “already pretty tight.”

“I try to be conservative and we always look to get the most bang for our dollar,” he said.

Councilman Tim Salters said it’s time to “start throwing anything and everything against the wall to see what sticks.” Yochum said that could include using part-time firefighters or volunteers in the future.

The department currently has 39 firefighters.

Chattin also suggested looking into “cross-training” police officers as firefighters to deal with the potential funding problem.

“Everything has to be on the table,” he said.

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Information from: Vincennes Sun-Commercial, https://www.vincennes.com

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