Established July 9, 2010, by a Joint Powers Agreement between the cities of Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, and Oceano Community Services District, the Five Cities Fire Authority (FCFA) was intended to save money for the three communities by consolidating services.
Last year, the FCFA won a federal grant worth $1.18 million that went to pay for six new employees’ salary and benefits; those funds will be depleted by September 2014. At the time of the grant award, I remember thinking the use of one-time money for staffing was not wise and that FCFA would come to the ratepayers for a tax when the funds ran out.
Here they are, after spending a significant amount of money surveying the voters’ willingness to pass a tax. They are set to throw more money at an assessment district and election that won’t have my support, nor that of my friends.
Pismo Beach has recently renewed its arrangement with CalFire, which includes a lifeguard program. Nipomo and approximately a dozen other communities use CalFire. Perhaps it’s time for the tri-communities to take a look at the cost savings CalFire could bring—now, before FCFA throws any more money at imposing a tax.