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Two More Fire Stations Slated To Close

The board of supervisors agreed to close a Pittsburg station in July, and one as yet unnamed in January.

By Bay City News

A Pittsurg fire station and one as yet unnamed station will be closed this year and next.

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors today approved a plan to shutter two stations as the local fire district struggles to close a massive budget gap.

The board voted to close Contra Costa Fire Protection District Station 87, located at 800 W. Leland Road in Pittsburg, in July, and another unnamed station in January as part of the district's ongoing service reduction and fire station closure plan.

Fire Chief Daryl Louder said the upcoming station closures should save the district about $3.3 million. The planned closures will follow the shutdown of fire stations in Lafayette, Martinez and Walnut Creek and the drastic service reduction at Clayton's lone fire station.

Like those stations, the Pittsburg outpost was selected for closure based on a mix of factors including the station's typical call volume and the ability of neighboring stations to absorb those calls.

Louder reviewed what led up to the closures.
          
He noted that the district gets most of its revenue from local property tax assessments, which were hit hard by the Great Recession, according to Louder.

In addition, the district's required contributions to health care and pension plans have soared in recent years.

Measure Q, a parcel tax measure meant to raise enough taxes to cover the budget gap, failed to receive the two-thirds majority vote needed to pass in November's election.

That left the district with a $17 million budget deficit and few other options to fix its finances, the chief said.

Even before the two additional fire stations close this year, Louder and other fire officials said, the district's fire crews are already stretched too thin.
          
"I have serious doubts about our ability to provide protection for our community and I have serious concerns about our personnel operating out there," the chief told the board this afternoon.

Many of the supervisors today acknowledged that the decision to shutter more fire stations is a necessary evil, but one that will take its toll on the community.
          
"The service level deficiencies...are seriously negatively affecting our communities and the safety of our personnel and it's a really sad set of circumstances," said Supervisor Mary Piepho, her voice breaking with emotion.
          
Vince Wells, President of the United Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa County, who was the sole public speaker at the meeting, said he appreciated the board members' level of interest in the fire district's problems.
          
However, he also reminded them that more than 50 percent of voters did approve Measure Q last fall and urged the board to "work toward a plan to
keep the fire stations open, aggressively," adding, "This is a crisis."

Cheryll May 10, 2013 at 11:12 PM
Pt2As for Pepra? New employees are screwed for sure and the Counties are saving big time $$. Does anybody ask what they are doing with all that savings that they are realizing while they clamp down on employees salaries as low as $25,000/year? Unions all across the state took concessions after concessions before Pepra went into effect. CCC employees are already paying a 100% of their retirement. Retirement contributions increased dramatically all across the state on employees who have suffered soaring healthcare costs, restructuring of benefits so they pay more of what they bargained for in lieu of wages over the years. ***Unions and EMPLOYEES OF THEM are the ones that stepped up to the plate only to be hammered some more by the ruthless right wing-nuts out there that don’t know WTF they are doing. I’ve had enough! I pay out the *ss for retirement and benefits trying to keep my children with healthcare and have something for my future as a senior citizen. Our members call and ask if they can they stop their retirement contributions because they can’t afford it, they need to pay their health care. They ask if they can drop their healthcare because they need to buy food or save their house! I feel like I’m working at Wal-Mart.
Cheryll May 10, 2013 at 11:15 PM
And Pepra was only a PIECE of the damage befalling employees’ pensions. Thenl6 months ago, came 340 & 197. And that definately DOES effect current employees. And CURRENT employees already PAID for the benefits that 197 seeks to remove. WHO GETS THAT MONEY I ALREADY “SAVED” FOR? It was a DEFINED benefit! How about "if YOU don’t need a union then YOU try walking into your bosses office and ask them to set up a 401k for you and tell them you will pay for it out of your earnings, JUST like we do. See what they say!" If you don’t NEED a union, YOU take responsibility for what you want! Don’t seek to REMOVE what OTHERS have ALREADY worked for. That's just jealous and evil.
mikedude May 10, 2013 at 11:23 PM
You seem to have pretty serious anger management issues, Cheryll. You should really see a doctor about it.
Cheryll May 10, 2013 at 11:29 PM
Unfortunately there's no cure for having to deal with pompous idiots who speak derrogatorily about puplic employees who are supposed to lick thier feet over gratefulness over jobs that DON'T sustain families and they wouldn't be able to do if thie life depended on it, but dont want to pay a single $ for the services they get.
mikedude May 10, 2013 at 11:31 PM
You have a lovely weekend, Cheryll.

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