LINDEN - A budget crunch in Linden could force police officers and firefighters to be laid off, officials said yesterday at a city council meeting.

The mayor said yesterday he needs police and other city employees to agree to salary reductions and benefit givebacks in order to avoid cuts and close a more than $5 million budget gap.

Officials said 22 of the city’s 133 officers could be laid off. Thirty firefighters could also be cut in an effort to close the budget gap. Furloughs of public works employees are also being considered.

The city’s police union president says the cuts would have a negative impact on the city and affect response times.

Council members did not make a decision on the potential cuts, but they will be discussed at the next meeting.