The South Tucson Fire Department has served the community since 1941, and now the city’s administration is looking to have the Tucson Fire Department take over.

The Mayor of South Tucson, Paul Diaz, said decisions from previous administrations placed the city in a large amount of debt.

Everything is related to the pension fund in regards to the big debt that we have in the pension fund, said Mayor Paul Diaz.

Now, he said the city can’t afford to hire more staff because it would mean having to pay into pensions. So the staff for the fire department sits at one full-time employee and 38 reservists.

The Tucson Fire Department has been responding to calls in the City of South Tucson, and Tucson Deputy City Manager Timothy Thomure said it’s no longer a mutual aid agreement.

The last year to 18 months, its becoming much more regular, that were the primary provider on certain days,” said Thomure.

The cities have been looking at solutions, and are making progress on negotiations for South Tucson to pay for TFD to take over the fire department in the City of South Tucson.

In June, the City of Tucson sent the costs the City of South Tucson would be looking at. Here’s a breakdown of those costs:

One-Time Costs:

$100,000 Station Upgrades $532,000 Hiring/ Training New Firefighters $214,000 Training of New Paramedics $1,106,425 New Pumper

Ongoing Costs

$2,006,000 Personnel $16,795 Maintenance for Pumper $50,000 Maintenance for Station

On December 1, the City of Tucson requested South Tucson move forward with negotiations as soon as possible because training could take 6-9 months.

The South Tucson City Council confirmed they would be moving forward to finalize negotiation amounts and acquire the costs at a council meeting on December 5.

Some South Tucson residents feel like they’ve been left out of the conversation. Diana Bojorquez, one of the owners of Taqueria Pico de Gallo, said she appreciates the fire department and sees it as part of South Tucson’s identity.

On December 24, if it had not been for our firefighters that are so close by, we wouldve lost our whole business, said Bojorquez, referring to the day someone drove into her family’s restaurant.

As the owner of a South Tucson staple, Bojorquez said she didn’t know about the situation. She said, They should have let us know before they started to make any decisions. If they did, they werent loud enough.

KGUN9 spoke with several community members that weren’t aware the city could lose it’s own fire department. Veronica Moreno, the South Tucson City Manager and City Clerk said, “Residents can be informed of this process and other City matters by attending City Council meetings, which occur the first and third Tuesdays of every month.”