For such an important decision, what's the hurry?
June 12, 2013Regarding the proposed decision by our Valley Center Fire Protection District Board to end their long standing relationship with Cal Fire, and form a new contract and agreement with the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians and their Fire Department to provide our fire services for Valley Center.
My biggest concern at present, is that the group of residents that I have been in contact with do not have answers to the questions most important to us. I have been in contact with over 40 families and individuals since the last fireboard meeting, and we all have the same concern. Why this rush to make this change without allowing the residents of Valley Center to have the time to understand all the issues, and let our elected board know how we want them to proceed?
We all understand that the board must turn in a budget by the end of June, but in my opinion this is being used as an excuse to rush into this agreement. We also all know—and I am speaking for the group of families that I have been in contact with—that our fireboard has a budget surplus of approximately $2 million. Now that being said, our fire board has stated that if we continue our current contract with Cal Fire, this next fiscal year we will go in the red approximately $68,000. Every family/individual resident that I have spoken with has told me…"fine, let's cover the $68,000 shortfall out of our $2 million budget surplus and extend the current contract with Cal Fire for one year, which we have the option to do"… This will allow us the time we need to understand all the issues before us, and ask additional questions, and be able to make an informed decision we can express to our elected board so they can go forward with the community's support.
I attended the last fire board meeting, the fire board's "seminar" that they held Saturday morning June 8 at the Community Center, and I have spoken to multiple board members one on one, and with multiple Cal Fire representatives. The problem I am having is verifying the information I am receiving from each of the groups. The financial figures do not jive, the equipment and manpower capabilities do not compare apples to apples, and there are insurance issues to resolve with ISO ratings between the fire service providers.
Bottom line we just need more time to understand what is the truth, and what is hype and rumor. I hope that the board will listen to the community and give a one-year extension to Cal Fire under our current agreement, which will give us the time we need to get to the best resolution for Valley Center.