On Wednesday, the Town of Moraga will discuss the possibility of sending a letter to the Moraga-Orinda Fire District Board of Directors opposing a study of the Consolidation/Dissolution Process with Contra Costa County Fire.
According to their agenda, the item will go before the Moraga-Orinda Fire District Board on May 19 to discuss the idea of possible consolidation.
The MOFD was established in 1997 to provide high quality paramedic and fire protection services tailored to local needs of the Town of Moraga and City of Orinda. The MOFD is governed by a Board of Directors that is elected by Moraga and Orinda voters. The MOFD is funded by three main sources: Property Tax Revenue (ad 31 valorem) which generates approximately $26 million annually; the Moraga Zone Fire Flow Tax (a supplemental property tax that can only be used within the service area generated) which generates approximately $1.2 million annually; and Ambulance Revenue which also generates approximately 1.2 million annually.
In 2009, the Contra Costa County LAFCO Municipal Services Review of Fire and
Medical Service Providers recommended that consideration be given to merging the MOFD into the ConFire. The Moraga Town Council and the Orinda City Council opposed the dissolution of the MOFD and annexation into the County fire district
Here is a copy of the potential letter that could be sent if approved by the Town of Moraga Council.
RE: Opposing a Study of a Moraga-Orinda Fire District Consolidation/Dissolution Process
Dear MOFD Chair Jorgens and Board Directors:
We understand that at your Board meeting of May 19, 2021, you will be discussing the process of a possible consolidation of Moraga Orinda Fire District (MOFD) into the Costa County Fire Protection District (ConFire) and the financial implications of consolidation. We appreciate the opportunity to share our observations related to that upcoming discussion.
MOFD is one of the highest performing and innovative fire districts in the State of California. The Town of Moraga and its citizens have greatly benefited from the high-quality paramedic and fire protection services that have protected this community since MOFD’s inception in 1997. Given the significant wildfire risk in our community, we particularly appreciate the ongoing collaboration between MOFD, the Moraga Police Department, neighborhood groups and our residents on disaster preparedness, emergency planning, and fire safety in our neighborhoods and open spaces. We hope for that collaboration to continue through this upcoming fire season and well beyond.
Our community is fortunate to be served and protected by a high-performing, nimble, well-funded, innovative, efficient, and locally-controlled fire district. Moraga residents and businesses benefit from: i) better critical response times for paramedic and fire suppression services; ii) decision making by a board that is locally elected and that represents the specific interests of Moraga and Orinda; iii) local control over decisions and the use of our tax dollars; iv) specialized fire prevention programs, such as the neighborhood chipping program; v) MOFD’s experience managing the challenges posed by our terrain, narrow roads and high fire risk areas; and, vi) the innovative and proactive approaches to fire protection, paramedic services, and emergency evacuation preparedness that an agile locally controlled and focused organization can provide
This is not the first time that the issue of whether MOFD should be absorbed into the ConFire has arisen. As you may recall, in 2009, the Contra Costa County LAFCO Municipal Service Review of Fire and Emergency Service Providers recommended that consideration be given to merging MOFD into the ConFire. The Councils of both the Town of Moraga and the City of Orinda unanimously voted to oppose that option publicly.
We strongly oppose MOFD spending resources studying a process for consolidation with ConFire. Resources should continue to be spent on the delivery of high-quality fire protection, fire safety, and emergency response services.
Thank you for considering our input and that of the residents of our Town.
Mike McCluer, Mayor
Town of Moraga
The Town Council will meet at 6:00 pm on Wednesday. Full Staff Report can be read here which includes 70-pages including comments/emails from the public.