Contra Costa Fire Protection District Chief Daryl Louder is telling local residents that six fire stations could be shut down around the county unless residents pass a $90 parcel tax in November.
The following statement is from Chief Louder to Claycord.com….
Yesterday, the Board of Directors for the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District was briefed on the proposed FY-12/13 Budget that will be presented on April 24th. Due to the continued decline in property tax revenue, the budget identifies the need to de-staff an additional unit in the system. This is necessary in spite of significant efforts to reduce and control costs. These efforts include: 10% salary concessions from our personnel, eliminating positions, managing vacancies, reducing operating costs, deferring capital purchases, leveraging grants, etc. During this fiscal crisis, we have utilized all of the District’s reserve funds in an attempted to keep all of our fire stations open and maintain protection and service to all parts of our community.
The District had to de-staff a unit at Fire Station #1 in Walnut Creek in January 2011. However, a second unit assigned to the station remained staffed to continue to provide service to the area. This is the same concept that is proposed for Fire Station #6 in Concord. It is the last station in the system that currently has two staffed units. This action would diminish capacity in the fire and emergency medical system and increase response times across the District. However, it does keep all of the fire stations open and continues to provide protection and service to everyone.
We are hopeful that our Board of Directors will support placing a special tax measure on the ballot in November.
If we are not successful in obtaining additional revenue, the District will be forced to close six fire stations to balance the budget. That would have catastrophic implications and severely reduce our ability to provide fire protection, rescue, and emergency medical service to the community.
Again, it is important to note that this is part of a proposed budget package for FY-12/13 that will be presented on April 24th. The Board of Directors has not authorized any action on the proposal at this time.
The fire stations that are in danger of closing in Contra Costa County have not been identified by Chief Louder.