The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Board of Directors has scheduled a public workshop to discuss future fire district services provided to several East Contra Costa County communities – and to hear from the community. Due to the ongoing struggling economy, which has significantly impacted fire district funding, tough choices are expected in the near future.
Over the past year, the district has been forced to close two fire stations, cut positions and take other drastic steps to reduce costs. Without additional revenue or significant service level reductions, the district is expected to be insolvent by June of 2012.
At issue: the district’s major revenue source – local property taxes – has declined significantly over the past few years because of the struggling economy, creating the current financial crisis for the district as well as other jurisdictions dependent on property taxes for funding. As the economy and housing market declined, the county re-assessed property values and lowered property taxes for homeowners.
District leaders are now tasked with securing new revenue sources to protect response times and the quality of emergency services that can be provided in the future. To fully understand which services the community values most, the district board of directors has scheduled a public workshop for Monday, March 7 at the Oakley City Council Chambers, 3231 Main St. The workshop begins at 5:30 p.m.
East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD) provides essential fire protection and suppression services, and life-saving emergency medical, rescue and disaster-response services to the cities of Brentwood and Oakley, and the unincorporated communities of Bethel Island, Byron, Discovery Bay, Knightsen, and Marsh Creek and Morgan territories.
Transparency and public input are critically important to the fire district as future options are considered and decisions are made.