The Oceano Community Services District board on Wednesday unanimously approved an agreement to allow the fire departments in Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach and Oceano to fully consolidate and form the Five Cities Fire Authority.
The Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach city councils approved the agreements earlier this week, which allows the authority to become effective July 9. A new governing board with representatives from the three communities will meet that day to consider approval of the agreement, a budget and a two-year deal with the firefighters union.
Fire Chief Mike Hubert plans to order new badges, patches and other things to identify the Five Cities Fire Authority.
Were hitting the ground running today, putting things in motion to prepare for July 9, he said Thursday.
The new department includes 15 full-time fire engineers and captains and about 25 reserve firefighters.
The annual cost of more than $3.2 million will be split among the three agencies: Arroyo Grandes share is about $1.4 million, Grover Beachs is $1.1 million and Oceanos is $657,000.
While the cities and Oceano will pay a higher cost the first year, officials from all three entities predict long-term savings because they will share the costs of purchasing or replacing fire equipment, liability and managing personnel.