AUSTIN (KXAN) - The Austin Public Safety Commission is revisiting an idea to merge paramedic and fire services.
Doing so would save between $9-16 million, according to the commission vice chairman, Mike Levy.
"We would save an enormous amount of money," said Levy, who also pointed to signs of declining morale and service at Austin-Travis EMS. "It has fallen far, far, down from the standard."
Levy says morale among paramedics is low due to problematic management.
Because there are many times EMS and fire service overlap, the commission will examine moving paramedics under the management of Austin Fire Department.
The idea would be to keep paramedics and firefighters as two different work groups with different bargaining agreements.
The savings created could help fund other pressing budget issues like threat of wildland fire in the Austin area and a shortfall of Austin police officers.
The proposed 2014 budget calls for 47 new officer positions to be added at APD, a huge discrepancy from the 92 new positions the department requested.
It is unlikely a merger would be made for the 2014 budget year, but the idea was expected to be discussed at Monday's commission meeting and could ultimately be presented to the city council as an alternative in future years.
Light snow flurries were reported early Saturday just north of the KXAN viewing area. Sub-freezing temperatures along with a slight chance of light snow, sleet and freezing rain will continue through Sunday morning.
Investigators are still trying to figure out who murdered an Austin teacher in Benghazi on Thursday.
Back in June, Governor Rick Perry signed a new law officially letting teachers and students use greetings such as "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hannukah" in school, all without getting in any trouble.
The Round Rock-based computer giant, Dell Inc., is offering some workers voluntary buyouts as it seeks to trim costs and boost productivity.
The Austin Humane Society reopened to the public Friday after closing its doors for six weeks.
Sub-freezing temperatures and an approaching upper level disturbance could combine to produce some patchy freezing drizzle or sleet Saturday and early Sunday morning.