KEARNY - Fifteen firefighters in Kearny have received notices that they could be laid off in 2011.

Twelve of the 15 firefighters on the chopping block are combat veterans. The township says it must make the cuts to balance its budget. Kearny Mayor Al Santos says that members of the union have the ability to avoid layoffs. Santos says the issue is a multimillion-dollar budget shortfall. The courts have awarded firefighters 17-percent raises over the course of five years. Santos says the township can't afford that due to cuts in state aid and a 2-percent property tax cap.

The layoffs would be effective for five firefighters on the first of the year and the other 10 would be let go in the spring.