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Aldermen, reps from police, firefighter unions slam Mayor Barrett over proposed public safety cuts

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MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee's police and firefighter unions on Monday, June 12th slammed Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett over threats of public safety cuts.

Barrett is warning that the city's dire budget situation could lead him to cut 84 police officers and 75 firefighters.

The union reps said police and fire response will not be as effective if the cuts happen. One alderman said the mayor's warning was "reckless."

"I can guarantee you, there's not going to be 84 cuts of police officers and 75 firefighters. That's not going to pass through the council. OK?" Alderman Zielinski said.

"I have no desire whatsoever to be cutting any police officers. In fact, I want to be adding incrementally to the department's strength. I can't do that when you have a situation where the budget for the police department exceeds the tax levy for the whole city," Mayor Barrett said.

Barrett said he hopes state lawmakers will see fit to increase funding to the city.

Alderman Zielinski and Alderman Mark Borkowski said the city should halt future expansion of the Milwaukee streetcar as a way to cut costs.