Fire Department Protection Rating Suffers Under City Council Redevelopment Agenda

Hacienda Fire November 2009

Rating Falls

In a report dated March 10, 2010, the Insurance Services Office reported its analysis of the "structural fire suppression delivery system". The rating for properties within required distance from the fire station declined from a rating of 3, to 5; on a 1 to 9 scale with 1 being the best. The Fire Department was rated a 6, and the Water District a 1.

As previously reported, Fire Chief Randy Rohrer submitted his resignation just days after the ISO review was completed.

Training Slips

Most ominously, our volunteer department depends on the success of our training academy in attracting, training and retaining volunteers.

The training facilities and their use declined from 6.03 points out of 9 in 2001 when the resident volunteer program still existed, to 1.26 out of 9 in this latest analysis.

Water District Achieves Highest Rating

Since the 2007 ISO analysis, the Water District has continued efforts to improve water delivery, water storage, and water pressure, achieving the highest ISO rating of 1.

Council Focus on Building and Redevelopment

As reported in our February Newsletter, since the last ISO analysis in 2007, there have been 11 City Council meetings with Code changes on the agenda since October 2007, and none on fire safety or improving the City ISO rating. The Code changes facilitate large Urban Estates, covering larger portions of lots with concrete and development, and the loss of the rural environment and animal keeping.

Residents regularly call for the return of resident volunteers to the Fire Department at City Council meetings, but no action is taken.

New Taxes Proposed

While the Council has focused on developers' interests, attention has waned on City spending and protection.

At the March 2010 City Council meeting five new or increased taxes were proposed, including increased Fire Tax increased Roads Tax, a new Utility Tax, a Trash Tax, and a Police Tax. There was no mention of cutting costs.

The City Council has eliminated all resident volunteer oversight committees and commissions, and eliminated the resident fire department volunteer program in 2005 that could man a second or third engine company as required by ISO.

Fire Tax Overcharge

In 2008 and 2009, the City Council overcharged taxpayers on the Fire Tax, in violation of the voter passed Fire Fee.

In 2008, the City Council charged double the allowable increase.

In 2009, the Council left the rate the same, when the Consumer Price Index that the Fire Fee is based on fell, which should have reduced the Fire Tax.

Will residents vote for new taxes when the City Council broke their trust on an existing one?

Interested Resident Volunteers Wanted

The City Council challenged resident George Edwards to gather names of residents interested in becoming volunteer fire fighters for a second or third engine. George can be reached at 888-867-6620 if you are interested in learning more.

See ISO Report here