TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - News 10 continues to follow concerns about the Terre Haute Fire Department's budget.
It's a story we've been following since Thursday night's Terre Haute City Council Meeting.
That's where we learned the department was asking for more money to cover excessive overtime.
On Friday, we sat down with Fire Chief Jeff Fisher. He went into detail to explain why the department has gone $700,000 over budget for overtime.
At this point, the fire department has hit $1.2 million in overtime costs.
Fisher agrees that's a big number...but he told us circumstances this year made it inevitable.
During Thursday night's meeting, Fisher went before the council. The department had a budget of $518,000 for overtime this year.
Fisher explained several things pushed them past that amount.
He told us several people retired and then other medical issues kept them from working.
Because of this, he told us his staff had to work overtime to fill the gaps. He said the solution to this issue moving forward would be to hire more staff.
Fisher explained that a staff of 155 would ensure every job would be taken care of and fewer would have to work overtime.
Either way, he said he doesn't want to risk the community's safety by cutting positions.
"We have to fill our firehouses...we have to fill our fire apparatus in order to make emergency runs and take care of the community of Terre Haute...that's the bottom line," Fisher told us.
Fisher said another obvious solution would be to increase the overtime budget.
Councilmembers said they would like to check in regularly with the fire department to monitor the finances.