HOUSTON -- The Houston Fire Department chief's proposed budget would cut about 200 jobs, according to Jeff Caynon, the head of the firefighters' union.

All city department heads were asked to come up with a plan to cut expenses because of the epic $130 million budget shortfall. The mayor has recently said that estimate has been lowered to about $80 million.

The total cuts from each department will range from 5 percent to 27 percent.

The Fire Department administration was asked to hit a $17 million number.

It is impossible to get to that target without talking about some significant personnel cuts, Caynon said. We are talking about 200 plus firefighters.

The Houston Fire Department would not officially confirm anything, and just said the goal in the process is to work through the numbers with the least impact on service.

Right now there are about 3,800 certified firefighters on staff at HFD.

Unlike the police department, there are not a big number of civilian employees (under a 150) so when cuts come it is harder to keep them from impacting the number of men and women on the streets.

The proposed fire budget still needs to be presented and approved by Houston City Council and the mayor.

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