Sunday, September 9, 2007

Text submitted to the Mountain Network News for the October Issue

If you own property in unincorporated Santa Cruz County (but not in a fire district) you should have received your mail-in ballot for additional funding for Santa Cruz County Fire. Your Loma Prieta, South Skyline, and Las Cumbres volunteer firefighters strongly urge you to vote YES. The fee increase is small, about nine dollars per month, but it matters a lot to all of us that live here. These funds will help us help you when you call 911.

Outside of wildland fire season, Santa Cruz County Fire pays CalFire (formally CDF) to staff four Santa Cruz County Fire engines and keep four fire stations, including Burrell and Saratoga-Summit, open 24/7. Career and Volunteer firefighters work as a team to serve you in a cost effective manner. The four paid fire stations provide guaranteed response and the volunteer firefighters provide response in depth to large, complex, or simultaneous incidents such as fires, storms, or disasters.

Over 60% of the funding is designated for the replacement of our aging fire engines, rescues, and watertenders. The national standard for the useful life of a fire engine is 10 years and they can serve an additional 5 years in reserve. Almost all of our fire engines, rescues, and watertenders are older than 15 years now. These emergency response vehicles need to be replaced soon to remain effective.


It is really simple–without this small fee increase, the quality of your firefighting, emergency medical, and rescue services will suffer, and none of us wants that. So, please vote YES on the CSA-48 mail-in ballot. Your vote is very important, we need everyone's vote to pass this measure.


For more information, please email us at chief@lomaprietafire.org, call our station at 408-353-3529, visit our website: www.lomaprietafire.org.


Don't forget to mail in you ballot and thank you for your support!

4 comments:

Stanley M. Sokolow said...

I received my ballot envelope, but the information is so incomplete that I don't understand how the increase of $1.8 million per year was determined and how it will be allocated -- how much to capital equipment, how much to salaries, benefits, operating expenses, etc. I feel that you are asking voters to give blind approval. Please tell me where on the Internet I can find the financial information justifying the $1.8 million increase. I don't find any answer on this web site.

Stanley M. Sokolow,
overbyte@earthlink.net

Loma Prieta Fire said...

Thank you for your questions Mr. Sokolow.

Let me respond with some information, some links and a recommendation that you contact Donita Springmeyer, Vice-Chair of the Santa Cruz County Fire Advisory Commission for more information regarding this measure. She has been intricately involved in the budget process for at least the last four years. Donita should be able to help you with how the need for the increase was determined.

Some information: The figure of a 1.8 million increase appears to be in error. According to the Ballot Instructions provided with each ballot: The total amount of the proposed assessments for fire protection services within County Service Area No. 48, County Fire, for the 2008/2009 fiscal year is
$1,767,078. Your figure seems to include both the current fee and the increase. The allocations of the increase are as follows: $18.30 is dedicated to staffing (salaries and benefits). $30.50 is dedicated to vehicles. $0.61 is dedicated to facilities.

This information is available in the introduction to agenda item 43 presented to the Board of Supervisors on 08/28/07. It can be reviewed at the County web site or found in the links section of this blog. The ballot instructions can be found in the same locations.

We hope that with this information we can count on your support of both the paid and volunteer firefighters in Santa Cruz County Fire.

Anonymous said...

I can't find on the Internet any list or map showing the County Fire station locations. Exactly where are the 7 stations that are open in high season and which of them are the 4 that the County keeps open the rest of the year?

Stan Sokolow

Loma Prieta Fire said...

I was not able to find a map showing all the stations either.

The Seven Cal Fire Stations open in the summer are located at: Big Creek (Swanton Road off Highway 1), Felton (Highway 9 in Felton), Jamison Creek (Jamison Creek Rd. at 236), Saratoga Summit (Highway 35, just North of Highway 9), Burrell (Highland Way, East of Old San Jose Highway), Soquel (Old San Jose Highway at Olive Springs) and Corralitos (Corralitos Road at Hames Road).

The Four stations that currently stay open in the Winter time are Big Creek, Burrell, Corralitos and Saratoga Summit.

Volunteer stations are located in: Davenport, Bonny Doon, Las Cumbres, Saratoga Summit, Loma Prieta, Burrell, and Corralitos. The Corralitos, Burrell and Saratoga Summit Stations are shared by both County Fire Volunteers and Cal Fire

Pajaro Valley Fire has several individual mapquest links to the various stations at: http://www.pajarovalley.com/emerg.htm

I have also added a link on this blog to the LAFCO map of the County Fire Districts