Board of Supervisors Agree to Provide ECCFPD with Funding, Clarify Agreement

10

On Tuesday, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would assist the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District re-open the Knightsen fire station.

The MOU was created after a Fire Task Force was initiated by Brentwood City Manager Gus Vina and stakeholders to find a two-step solution by finding both short-term and long-term funding sources as the Districts financial woes causes station closures and firefighter layoffs.

In 2008, the ECCFPD had eight stations and 52 full-time sworn personnel with an additional 25 sworn personnel on call. Today, the ECCFPD has 3 stations with 27 full-time sworn personnel.

As part of the MOU, the County is responsible for providing a total of $311,617 to fund the County share of the agreement—in total, between the County, ECCFPD and the cities of Brentwood and Oakley, $2.4 million in shared cost was negotiated.

David Twa, County Administrator, highlighted that the agreement is for a period of 18-months to allow the District to have a fourth fire station while they go back to the voters in hope they would support a willingness to move forward with property tax in some nature.

“The action by the Board in November included a number of recommendations that the existing board of directors would move from an appointed board to an elected board. There would be a citizens oversight committee. The District would change its name so there would not be confusion between our own fire district and this independent fire district. Finally as part of this recommendation, they would use the funding from the county to re-open the fire station in Knightsen,” explained Twa.

Twa explained that all of the other entities have agreed to move forward but did show some concern.

“We had hoped that some of these items would have legs prior to the Board having to approve the MOU but because of a number of factors that ahs not occurred, but we do have assurances,” said Twa. “That is the direction they are moving so we are recommending that the Board approve the MOU between all of the parties.”

piepho 2014Supervisor Mary Piepho stated that the recommendations sought were not really recommendations, but facts and actions that need to take place.

“I can appreciate there is a timeline for these actions to take place, but its extremely critical that this Board affirm our belief that they are important to the success of this district. The outcome of this effort remains extremely uncertain, very unknown, yet we know we have public and property being protected by firefighters working hard to keep everybody safe,” explained Piepho. “The important action before us is to open a 4th station and that is critical to safety and property protection for all interest and stakeholders. I want to seek from the board communication back to the East Contra Costa Board that we emphatically want to see pursuit of the actions that we sought, including the independent district status, the name change, and the citizen’s oversight committee as not simply recommendations but actually requirements to fulfill the county requirements and concerns.”

Piepho said these are not personal objects to her, but an effort to gain public confidence, public ownership and a greater investment that already exists.

“These requests are requirements for the health and safety of the district and the community as we move forward,” said Piepho.

Federal GloverSupervisor Federal Glover said the County wanted some affirmation that there is going to be continued work to make sure the ECCFPD meets the commitments being made the county to ensure service for the district.

“I am fully supportive of this action,” said Glover. “But we don’t want to committee where we are starting to take over the responsibilities of that direct Board. I’ve stated before this will not be the first call, we have other problems within the county through the small stations and we are going to be hearing from Rodeo-Hercules real soon. So, as we continue to be supportive, let’s keep in mind there is a lot of need out there and people are going to be dependent on us to help. As we go forward, we must really affirm that the Districts are going to be owning up to their part and assure they are able to fully sustain these stations with revenues.”

Brentwood City Manager Gus Vina, spoke to reassure the Board of Supervisors, the conditions in the resolution from a couple months ago were included in the MOU.

Supervisor Candace Andersen stated she would be supporting this motion even though she was the lone “no vote” because of the precedent it sets in not being able to keep open CONFIRE stations.

“Nevertheless, I want this to be successful since the money has already been appropriated, I am comfortable with the direction this MOU is headed,” said Andersen.

Supervisor Piepho stated she would move the item with the specific clarification that Item 5 is a requirement by the governing Board of the Fire Protection District.

The Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 in favor of approving the MOU.

The approval now allows the ECCFPD to move forward with hiring firefighters and the Knightsen fire station is expected to re-open sometime in the Spring. It’s unclear of the timelines of when the ECCFPD will implement requirements made by the Board of Supervisors.


10 COMMENTS

  1. With all the calls in Brentwood, the Station that should be reopened is downtown Brentwood. Why would a station with so few calls be reopened before a high traffic area of downtown Brentwood. Not sure on the thinking but this station is a bad move keeping Station 52 and Station 93 still getting a majority of the calls.

  2. @ David Twa, County Administrator, highlighted that the agreement is for a period of 18-months to allow the District to have a fourth fire station while they go back to the voters in hope they would support a willingness to move forward with property tax in some nature.

    David, and the rest of the county officials keep pounding the same old drumbeat: East county needs to pay more taxes.
    David and the rest are not listening. Twice the voters have turned them down. We ARE paying our taxes, plenty of them, the same as everyone else in Contra Costa County. County officials need to reallocate and prioritize what our taxes are used for. Certainly safety, infrastructure, and our schools must be on the top of that list. Items must be divided up by must have and would like to have.
    A note to those county officials: Do the jobs you were elected or appointed to do, and do it with the billions of dollars we all are already paying! Your constituants have budgets we must stick to and prioritize. Follow our example.

    • Jerry, I can train a parrot to say “we pay the same” and it would be just as meaningful as your comment.

      By “same” you are referring to the 1% ad valorem dollars. Well 1% of $5 is not the same as 1% of $10. Which is not too far off representing some of the property value disparities between East County and Central County.

      Your group fails due to a basic misunderstanding of math.

      • So you are saying that any area of California that does not have property values as high as west Contra Costa County do not pay enough taxes to support the property owners safety and infrastructure? I find that argument reprehensible.

        • @Jerry, in California if you live in a one room shack on a piece of property you own that is 10 miles down a dirt road and 20 miles from any town you will still be paying 1% ad valorem property taxes.

          Are you seriously going to expect the same services with respect to safety and infrastructure as someone who lives in the middle of Walnut Creek and pays the 1%?

          You seem to struggle with context. Obviously the ECV group does as well. The tax base for east county is very different than the other areas within the county they use in their service envy campaign. If you can’t properly bring that into the discussion you will never be taken seriously.

          • You would be hard put to find any shack in CoCoCounty that is 10 miles from any major township or city. But I see that this could be an endless argument. There are those people that offer solutions, and there are those people who have political motives for supporting the public employee unions, which are nothing more than a conflict of interest. Even James Carter recognized that obvious conflict while he was in office and made it illegal for federal employees to strike. Ronald Reagan backed him up when the air traffic controllers went on strike soon after, and that didn’t end well for them. California needs to follow the lead of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and ban all public employee unions. They are the blight of Contra Costa County debt woes, pure and simple.

  3. “The District would change its name so there would not be confusion between our own fire district and this independent fire district.”
    Does this mean two seperate districts?
    I’m so over the confusion with all this.

  4. Prop 13 is about the one percent, not how it’s divided. Anyone who pays more is a choice of the voters. How it’s divided should also be the choice of the voters. It is not rocket science, it’s the will of the people that is the final say. Jump up and down and scream all you want, this is still America at least for now.

    • @ Unome, it may as well be rocket science to you. You don’t want to understand. Key words: you don’t want to understand.

      Proposition #13 is inclusive of the formulas to determine how it’s divided. It is part of our state’s constitution and deals with the limits, the amounts and the apportionment of property tax unique to the state of California.

      “How it’s divided should also be the choice of the voters”. You are kidding right? You really want every apportionment on the ballot every year? You think you know enough to handle that responsibility? You don’t. You don’t even begin to understand the fundamentals and now you want to make decisions on complex governmental economics? Having an opinion is one thing, backing it up with qualifications is a different animal.

      You need to take a civics class. You don’t understand the first thing about democracy, economics or what America was actually founded on.

      Very entertaining.

  5. America was not founded on your mindset of tax and overspend to tax more. You sorry pos have killed your child’s future with debt. Sadly you believe it without a conscience. You’re pathetic.

Comments are closed.