After reading the article Oakley joins Brentwood in seeking fire move in the Sept. 19 issue of the Brentwood Press, I decided to write this letter.
There is no lack of control over district spending. As for sub-par pay for firefighters and below standard staffing levels, I agree to this. But here's the reason: prior to 1991, all of East Contra Costa County had all-volunteer fire districts. The budgets during this era were small. In 1978, Prop 13 was approved by the voters of California. Because of Prop 13, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District can receive only 6 percent from property taxes to hire, run and maintain the fire district. Con Fire receives 15 percent from property taxes because they were fully staffed with good pay years before 1978.
Con Fire has three men on each engine. In order for East Contra Costa Fire Protection District to bring the engine companies up to three men, it would need to hire 24 more firefighters at a cost of $2.9 million dollars per year more. Has anyone asked Con Fire if it has an extra $2.9 million dollars? It also takes money to keep the equipment in A-1 shape.
People that shoot from the hip can shoot themselves in the foot. Oakley was once with Con Fire. Why the change?
Former member and fire chief, Byron Fire Protection District