Shortly before 3pm today the Board of Directors convened a second meeting to discuss the potential service reductions and station closures as a follow-up to the December 4th meeting. Fire Chief Daryl Louder presented additional information and analysis regarding the four fire stations identified for closure after January 1, 2013. Additional information was provided by staff from County EMS staff and American Medical Response regarding the effects on emergency medical first response should the stations close.
Significant public comment was received by several members of the communities affected by the station closure plan. The public comment portion of the meeting started at 6pm tonight. Unfortunately the Fire District is at a point where fire stations must be closed to help bridge the gap between current revenues and expenses. The failure of Measure Q to obtain the super majority of 66% in the recent November election created a shortfall in revenue of approximately $16-$17 million beginning with the 2012-2013 fiscal year that starts in July 1, 2013. The shortfall in revenue is due to the significant reduction in property taxes collected as a result of the economic downturn and devaluation of real estate throughout the Fire District since 2008.
The fire stations slated for closure in January are:
Fire Station 4 – Walnut Creek
Fire Station 11 – Clayton
Fire Station 16 – Lafayette
Fire Station 12 – Martinez
The Board of Directors continues to meet into the evening. Public comment, expected to be up to 20 speakers, began at 6pm. Updates will be posted as the meeting concludes later this afternoon.