Without federal assistance, Pittsburgh could a massive cut in public safety jobs.By Lindsay Ward

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Like many cities across the country, Pittsburgh is in desperate need of pandemic relief funds. In a recent budget hearing, the city discovered without that federal money, they may be forced to make hundreds of layoffs.

For the city of Pittsburgh, the magic number is 26.

Leaders tell KDKA’s Lindsay Ward they need at least $26 million in federal funding to avoid cutting hundreds of city employees.

“I think that’s the scary thing when you look at all of Public Safety,” Fifth District City Councilman Corey O’Connor said.

O’Connor said he chaired Thursday’s Public Safety budget hearing. Since then, he’s received numerous calls and emails about what’s next.

With discussions involving the possibility in cutting 200 city police officers, 150 firefighters and around 60 paramedics, some are concerned.

“Overall, you’re looking at 600. So not just Public Safety, I mean you have Public Works, other departments, that if we don’t get federal funds, those cuts may have to come, which is why we kind of have a split budget this year,” said O’Connor.

Meaning, they have until July 1 before making any decisions on just how many they may have to lay off.

O’Connor says the city needs $26 million to stay afloat, but they are hoping for more, like $55 million. He’s optimistic those federal dollars will come when the new administration takes over in January.

“I think they’re going to be more proactive in giving funding, necessary relief funding to a lot of cities across the country. So we hope that we can get a huge chunk from the next bailout if it comes relatively soon,” said O’Connor.

Council members will continue to talk with Public Safety leaders. They will vote on a preliminary budget Dec. 14.

The final plan could be adopted on Dec. 21.