Budget cuts could be affecting the University of Connecticut Health Center.
A plan proposed by Republicans would do away with the health center's fire and police departments. Those services would be given to the town of Farmington in this move that could save the state millions of dollars.
UConn Health Center officials said they are not in favor of this proposal and neither is the town of Farmington. But, lawmakers said these are tough times and there needs to be some consolidation.
The University of Connecticut Health Center has its own police and fire services. But some lawmakers feel that responsibility could be handled by the town of Farmington.
"The UConn Health Center is a business and that really falls on the town of Farmington to provide those services,” state Sen. Kevin Witkos (R-Canton) said.
The move could save about $7 million. Witkos said Farmington would get extra help, $1 million.
Farmington's Town Manager Kathleen A. Eagen said "full elimination of the police and fire departments at UConn Health, regardless of a subsidy to the Town, on such short notice, would be difficult and or impossible to implement.”
The consolidation would lay off about 20 firefighters as well as 20 police and security officers.
The president of their union has other issues with the plan and said "Farmington doesn't have HAZMAT protection for buildings like Jackson Labs. Firefighters have no training or skills."
President Glenn Terlecki calls the plan "horrible"
State lawmakers have been looking at many ways to save money and consolidate services. However, Witkos said it’s something many often resist because they lose control.
"The landscape in the state of Connecticut is looking totally different a year from now. We can't continue to do business the way we have always done business,” Witkos said. “Some of these things are nice to have -- but do we really need everything."
The UConn Health Center told Eyewitness News on Wednesday they have a number of concerns with this plan. Their issues include the Farmington Fire Department being mainly volunteer and items such as inspections and permits which would now fall on the town.
Right now, it’s a proposal and would need to be voted by a committee or the full legislature.
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