The Five Cities Fire Authority found a way to continue serving Grover Beach, Arroyo Grande, and Oceano for another year with an amendment to a joint powers agreement, but it also developed a backup plan if Oceano decides to break away due to a lack of funds.
Grover Beach is the first member to approve a second amendment to the joint powers agreement that revised the way the fire authority is funded.
"I do want to say thank you to our city staff, our fire chief, for working on this and bringing this to fruition as we continue to move forward with public safety and emergency services," Mayor Jeff Lee said at the City Council's June 4 meeting.
- File Photo By Jayson Mellom
- FIRE SERVICES The city of Grover Beach is the first to approve an amendment on the joint agreement for services provided by Five Cities Fire Authority.
The new funding formula that would go into effect for the 2019-20 fiscal year increases Grover Beach's contribution for fire and emergency medical services for the 2019-20 fiscal year by $71,422 to $2 million; Arroyo Grande would pay nearly $2.6 million, a $147,187 increase; and Oceano would pay $1.1 million, a $75,765 increase.
Under the funding model that's already in place, Grover Beach and Arroyo Grande have three fire personnel while Oceano has two. In order to have three, Oceano is placing a measure on the 2020 ballot to generate additional revenues for fire and emergency medical services.
If the ballot measure does not pass, Oceano will cease to be a member of the Fire Authority on June 30, 2021. Part of the joint powers agreement amendment includes language that Oceano's resignation will be followed by a 16-month "wind down period" that specifies distribution of assets and payment liabilities. In the event of that happening, the new funding formula wouldn't take place.
Currently, Arroyo Grande pays for 47 percent of the fire authority, Grover Beach pays for 34 percent, and Oceano 19 percent, based on four parts: number of service calls from the previous year, population, assessed property value, and service levels at the inception of the joint powers agreement.
A managers working group, made up of three city/general managers of the member agencies and the fire chief, developed a revised funding formula that removed the assessed property value component and changed the service level.
The amendment will be considered by Arroyo Grande on June 11 and Oceano on June 12, and the fire authority budget goes before the authority's board on June 14. Δ