Letter to the Editor

What’s the real cost?

Los OsosMarch 9, 2014 

Quoting the recent Tribune article regarding the Five Cities Fire assessment, “Financial documents show that Arroyo Grande and Oceano are each paying slightly less money for fire services than they were in the 2006-07 fiscal year, when each community had its own stand-alone department. Grover Beach is now paying about $300,000 a year more than in 2006-07 because the city had to bring salaries and benefits up to par with Arroyo Grande’s employees, among other costs, officials said.” (March 2, “Residents debate fire fee plan.”)

This shows the formation of the Five Cities Fire Authority is not all it was cracked up to be.

To have to cite 8-year-old financials is stooping pretty low. In reality, the FCFA began in 2010-11 with a member agency contribution budget of $3.4 million and it’s only gone up from there. In fiscal year 2011-12, the contribution budget peaked at $3.65 million, 2012-13 it was $3.55 million and this year and next are expected to be static at $3.5 million.

FCFA’s obligation is to the ratepayer. A quote from Cal Fire to compare “apples and apples” to dollar-for-dollar services should be sought before any assessment is levied.

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