Home CCT Interviews #113: A Chat with Steve Smith, Director at the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District

#113: A Chat with Steve Smith, Director at the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District

by ECT

On this episode, I chat Steve Smith who is one of the directors at the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District. We talk about a variety of issues from the District’s history, funding issues, the beef with the City of Oakley, and a variety of other issues.

 

Episode Overview:

  • 00:33 – Introduction to Steve Smith who has been involved with the Fire District since 2013 as an appointed Board Member. He says he first got involved after the 2006 Citygate Report.
  • 2:20 – We get into how busy the Fire District has been since Chief Brian Helmick taken over to find money for the district, $700k from Byron Bethany Irrigation District, the $6.2 million found and the CCCERA find of $1.7 million. Smith talks about impact of Measure X the might help bring even more revenue.
  • 04:15 – Smith talks about Chief Helmick taking heat for “staffing up” the District. He talks about this fire district trying to overcome neglect for years.
  • 08:08 – We jump into Oakley Community Facilities District and Fire Fees and what is going on with that and why the ECCFPD went public. Smith says the City of Oakley is sandbagging the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, says Oakley is not fulfilling terms of Station 55.  We talk about these so called approved CFD’s by City of Oakley. Smith says Oakley has a “culture of secrecy” going on.
  • 14:00 – Smith says since 2018, the Fire District is meeting with various candidates as a formal process so candidates understand what is going on. This year, they focused on the Strategic Plan.
  • 15:50 – We get into the upcoming “ask of the public” in terms of revenue enhancement. How do you ask for more funding after multiple tax measures have failed? Now there could be extra money through Measure X plus consolidation is on the table.  Smith says they are still working on financials as they have a lot of moving parts.
  • 18:30 – We talk abut the possibility of consolidation between East Contra Costa Fire Protection District and the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.
  • 20:50 – We talk about the upcoming election and why voters should consider supporting Steve Smith in his reelection bid. Smith says the public should get a solution that is no longer a band-aid, but a real solution in solving fire service once and for all.
  • 24:00 – Smith says the City of Brentwood has always come through with everything the District has asked of them and end up being 5-0 votes.
  • 25:10 – The Fire District, under Chief Helmick and new board had implemented the creation of an FAQ several years ago. They have worked on educating the public.  Smith highlights there are a lot of people proposing a lot of things, but they are the subject matter experts.
  • 27:25 – I ask Smith what is the one question he gets asked all the time that he is tired of answering.  He talks about reallocation and going to Sacramento.
  • 28:54 – Smith talks about the concept that they are trying to build a coalition of fire districts
  • 30:41 – We talk about the District no longer being the training ground for firefighters, but also there was a time when they did not have enough qualified staff to promote up to Engineer, they also were near brownouts for Station 59 (Discovery Bay) because they didn’t have enough engineers. We also talk about AMR meeting their targets, but ECCFPD is not.
  • 35:22 – We talk about how its taken more than 6 years of education to finally move the ball forward in terms of community knowledge and possibility of tax or consolidation.
  • 40:45 – I ask Steve what has been the most frustrating thing in being a Board Member on the ECCFPD. Smith replies it’s the persistence of East County Voters group.
  • 43:30 – Steve Gets into why voters should support him for re-election.

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1 comment

Rob Broocker Oct 26, 2020 - 7:31 am

They are doing exactly what ECV wants. Figuring it out without a new tax.
Notice they keep finding money to reallocate towards ECCFPD. Call it what you want, turning over rocks, etc, keep going. The big picture is ECCFPD consolidates with Con Fire. Keep going. Now it’s there idea. Get it done.

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