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Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS -- The firehouse across the street from the New Orleans Municipal Auditorium on Basin Street in Treme would be shuttered under a redeployment plan now under consideration by the Landrieu administration.

'They are looking to close this engine house, Engine 7, which responds I will say all over the city,' said New Orleans Firefighters Union President Nick Felton.

According to the plan, obtained by Eyewitness News, staffing at the NOFD would drop from its current level of 738 firefighters to 724 firefighters. One of the current 31 station houses would close and two of the current 30 fire engines would be eliminated.

Authors of the plan admit, 'The new deployment model will not increase public safety... on the contrary the model is expected to increase response times in some areas of the city.'

'It has us greatly concerned,' said Felton. 'Truthfully, we have to increase, not decrease.'

The firefighters union is fighting the potential cuts.

Meanwhile, the city administration says it has two choices in tough economic times, make cuts or raise taxes.

'It's about whether you're spending more money than you have, and if you do that, how you do that by continuing provide the services to the public that they need?' said Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

The firefighters union is less opposed to another cost saving measure involving the NOFD.

There is a proposal to build a new fire station in the Central City neighborhood to house units from the station in 4900 block of Clara and two others destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in the 1400 block of South Broad and 2300 block of Louisiana.

Property owner Will Winebrenner supports the plan. He and his partner are currently restoring an historic home in Central City.

'Police, fire, rescue, definitely because that's where your tax dollars go to, I would definitely want that in my neighborhood, that's for sure.

The mayor is expected to propose next year's budget Oct. 29.

By law, the New Orleans City Council must approve next year's spending plan by Dec. 1.

This story was written in partnership with the Uptown Messenger.

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