South Tucson’s City Council is making negotiations to outsource the city’s fire response to the Tucson Fire Department.

South Tucson Councilman Cesar Aguirre explained, Honestly its not sustainable at this current time. With our revenue and what we bring in through taxes , its not enough to cover the cost of the fire department. The cost of the pension is pretty astronomical, its three to one.

He said he initially was against outsourcing. Now, his decision has changed and the council is moving forward. Weve directed staff, our city manager, to start negotiations with the City of Tucson, so that they can come in and take over our fire department, said Aguirre.

For lifelong residents like Grace Beltran, she said it’s been heartbreaking to sit through the city council meetings and have to advocate for the South Tucson Fire Department. Her family has lived in South Tucson since 1910. She believes the fire department is part of South Tucson’s identity and has cherished it since her childhood.

When we needed food growing up, the fire department would bring us, my grandmother and I a box of food for Christmas every year, said Beltran.

She’s questioned the council’s decisions because she believes there should be a better way to ensure the safety of her community.

If our leaders, and our staff, and our City of South Tucson government is leading our finances appropriately, they should not be in a problem of having to make a decision of if we lose our fire department, said Beltran.

The South Tucson Fire Department currently has 38 reservists and one full time firefighter employed by the city. The city’s population sits at around 4600 people. KGUN9 will continue following this story to bring more information on what this could mean for the City of South Tucson.