Editor: Jim Davis (“ECCFPD-Time for Change?” June 26, 2020) suggested that because of the 1,500% population growth East County has experienced since 1978 and the inability of the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD) to provide an adequate level of service, that perhaps a merger or consolidation should be explored.
It has been explored and found to be not feasible for legal reasons.
By state law, all changes to special district services responsibility have to be approved by the County’s Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). The LAFCO enabling legislation (Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000) states that no merger or consolidation can be approved if a party to the action will be damaged or hurt.
ECCFPD now gets about $90 per person per year to provide services, while the likely merger participant, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (ConFire), gets about $150 per person per year to provide the same services.
Combining the two organizations would mean “leveling down” the services provided to ConFire’s service area residents, while “leveling up” the services for ECCFPD service area residents. Those residents depending on ConFire would get less service, and thereby be damaged by the consolidation.
Because of this, LAFCO cannot approve bringing the two districts together, and it cannot be done without LAFCO approval.
The Brentwood Emergency Response for All Initiative is part of a logical, practical strategy to increase public safety services funding in East County. Learn more at https://eastcountyvoters.com.