Last updated Tuesday, 9/3/13 @ 10:06 a.m.
While the Twentynine Palms City Council Members are affected with apathy and play a cocky game of “Russian Roulette” with public safety, the Oakdale City Council is preparing to do what 29 Palms must do… partnering with their local fire district.
Twentynine is neither prepared nor equipped to provide fire protection to the The Tortoise Rock Casino and its patrons 24/7 when the casino opens in January 2014. The City is unequivocally ill-prepared to protect life and property within city limits to residents and businesses after a brutal cut this year to its budget. One undermanned fire engine while Fire Station 422 remains in mothballs, is a danger game.
The TPFD is responsible for providing services to over eighty square miles of territory. It’s Fire Chief is burdened with being on call more hours per week than any other public service professional in the city or County of San Bernardino.
The City pays nothing for fire services even though it receives 22% in property taxes for public safety necessary services. The City has no involvement with sewers, the local water district provide waters to residents, and the city contracts with the county for policing services. As such, councilmembers are living the dream with plenty of money on non-priority projects.
Twentynine was recently infused with a few hundred thousand for capital improvements projects; and $513,000 it received from the state in old rda monies; and nearly $13,000,000 in reserve funds; and a new expense of another $60,000 is needed to continue with improvements on National Park Drive.
But nothing for a 24/7 fire, medical and rescue calls for a viable fire department? City Council Members are tending to pet projects and non-priority issues (but for a long overdue major sidewalk thoroughfare to connect a fragmented city).
Who is tending to the people’s business concerning fire, medical and rescue? Not your city council. That’s a fact.
Modesto Bee | CITY COUNCIL TO CONSIDER FIRE MERGER IN OAKDALE
OAKDALE — The City Council on Tuesday night will discuss merging the city fire department with a pair of fire districts to save money.
The council also will consider a two-year ban on alcohol in most city parks, except for people who get a special permit.
The fire merger idea emerged as Oakdale, like many local governments, struggles with public service demands and weak tax income.
The proposal is to merge with the Oakdale Rural Fire Protection District, which already partners with the city to staff one station, and the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District, which manages the city department and Oakdale Rural under contract.
“The cost of providing community safety services has remained constant while the available revenue to support the desired level of service has been significantly reduced due to the economic downturn,” said Brian Kelly, interim chief of the city department, in a memo to the council.
The proposal would need approval from the Stanislaus Local Agency Formation Commission, which rules on the boundaries and functions of local entities. A council vote Tuesday would launch an application to LAFCo but not commit the city to the merger.
Stanislaus Consolidated, which covers much of central and eastern Stanislaus County, is itself the product of a 1995 merger of three smaller districts and the county fire department. In 2010, the Modesto Regional Fire Authority was created by a merger of the Modesto and Salida agencies and the county fire warden’s office.
The alcohol ban would apply to all parks except for Kerr Park and end after two years, when the council would review whether it curbed problems at these sites. Park users could drink in parks with the ban if they got permits from the police department.
The council usually meets on Mondays but moved to Tuesday because of Labor Day.
Stephen Frank’s California Political News and Review | By By John Holland, Modesto Bee, 9/2/13
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