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PHOENIX -- The city of Prescott said Wednesday it cannot afford to posthumously award full-time benefits to 13 hotshots.

The city said that granting the hotshots -- who were considered part-time employees -- benefits on par with those who are permanent employees would cost the city at least $51 million over 60 years, meaning annual payouts would be between $800,000 and $900,000.

Annual payouts would be dependent on annual budgets and would be non-binding, meaning it would be subject to challenges under Arizona's "Gift Clause" prohibition.

If the city were to pay the families in one lump sum, it would cost about $24 million, three times the budget of the Prescott Fire Department.

The city has an operating budget of $30.7 million and 69 percent of that goes to public safety.

Prescott said it will not deny benefits that the hotshots were eligible for and is working with the families.

KTAR Newsroom,

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