Union Gap fire chief let go in midst of major budget problems for city

UNION GAP, Wash. -- Union Gap is now facing a budget deficit of nearly $380 thousand for next year.

Don't spend more money than you earn.

It's a simple lesson, but one Union Gap officials have apparently lost sight of.

Landing them in a deficit of more than $377 thousand for next year's preliminary budget.

KIMA went to the mayor for answers on how this happened.

"There's capital outlays, there's a variety of things that have brought on that deficit, we've been neglecting over the last four to five years our reserves," said Union Gap Mayor Roger Wentz.

As a result, the city will be cutting back across the board.

The biggest cut to city personnel so far is Fire Chief Chris Jensen, who was let go with the Police and Fire Departments being combined.

There's no word yet if other employees will lose their jobs.

In addition to combining fire and police, the city is also doing the same with Public Works and Community Development as well as Finance and Administration.

"Will there be other employees that are let go with the new restructuring?" - Reporter

"There's a couple of changes still in the works, it's still being worked out, but at this point that's what we know," said Wentz.

Mayor Wentz said that services for the city won't be cut with the restructuring of departments, and hopes these changes will help the city move forward.

"We want a government that's safe, we want a government that's efficient, we want our reserves in a safe place. We have projects that we need to get done, we have a bright future ahead of us but that takes for planning, so that's where we're at," said Wentz.

Planning to make sure officials spend the taxpayers money more wisely in the future.

City council will be holding public hearings on the proposed budget on the 12th and 25th of this month.