LONG BEACH — The Long Beach Fire Department will take a Belmont Shore fire engine out of service next month to meet budget constraints, according to a memorandum from Fire Chief Mike DuRee made public Monday.

Station 8, 5365 E. 2 nd St., will lose its engine company Jan. 2.

Response times on the west end of the Station 8 district - defined as around Ocean Boulevard and Livingston Drive - could increase by 10 to 30 seconds, DuRee told the Press-Telegram.

The LBFD has cut more than $10 million from its operations in the last five years, including four fire engines, a fire truck and an ambulance.

DuRee emphasized that removing a fifth engine to save another $2 million would not have been considered in a better fiscal environment.

"I don't want to minimize that, but this is going to have the least impact on the system," DuRee said.

Shuttering the engine will have a minimal effect on response times in the district's southeast area, around Naples Island, Alamitos Bay and Second Street and Pacific Coast Highway, according to DuRee.

Station 8 won't close under the plan announced Monday. A paramedic rescue ambulance will be relocated there from Station 14 near Colorado Lagoon.

The Department will also split the "Light Force," a fire truck and fire engine temporarily operating at Station 14, by moving the fire truck to Station 17, by Stearns Park.

Fire officials had intended to remove a fire engine from service on Oct. 1, the start of the fiscal year, under budget cuts approved by the council.

The decision was delayed when the department's response-modeling software suggested choosing from several West Long Beach stations, DuRee revealed.

The effects of the closure would have caused surrounding engine companies to experience rises in call volumes from 3,000 to 4,500 per year to almost 6,000 calls a year, DuRee said.

Rex Pritchard, president of Long Beach Firefighters Local 372, commended DuRee for an "efficient" reallocation of resources in a difficult situation.

However, he said the continuing budget cuts have had a dramatic impact on firefighters' ability to provide public safety to citizens.

"Everyone just kind of understands there's a lesser level of service with it," Pritchard said.

Third District City Councilman Gary DeLong, who represents Belmont Shore, didn't return phone calls seeking comment Monday.

Fourth District Councilman Patrick O'Donnell, who is strongly supported by the city's public safety unions, reserved judgment Monday until he had been briefed on the forthcoming changes.

O'Donnell called the cuts made to public safety "the toughest decisions I've had to make in my 8 1/2 years on City Council."

Long Beach has adopted a proportionate-share budgeting approach in recent years, in which a department lowers spending by a figure aligned with its share of the general fund.

That means public safety, accounting for 68 percent of Long Beach's daily expenses, take the largest hit.

The council passed a $396.8 million budget in September that contained $12.9 million in reductions to public safety, libraries, parks and other departments.

Multi-million dollar budget deficits are forecast for the city in 2014 and 2015.

On Tuesday the council's Public Safety Committee is scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. in City Hall to hear, among other things, a year-end report on fire safety from the Fire Department.

eric.bradley@presstelegram.com, 562-499-1254, twitter.com/EricBradleyPT