Rural fire districts get fiscal ‘patch’ from county
El Dorado County Supervisors agreed to give one more round of cash infusions to at least five out of eight rural fire protection districts late last month. Following a presentation by the county’s Fire Advisory Board on the “financial status” of local districts, the board adopted a plan to subsidize the agencies with up to a maximum of approximately $850,000 this year and about the same next year.
Chief Administrative Office analyst Mike Applegarth represented the county on the advisory board and delivered the good, the bad and the ugly data. Pioneer Fire Protection District in the South County is doing all right financially, Applegarth said, adding the notation that the district has closed one of its satellite stations and laid off six staff.
“Georgetown looks OK” except for the fact that it has no full-time staffed fire engine, he said, while Garden Valley, without federal grant funds would probably be in the red. “Most districts are not in danger of closing their doors in the next two years,” but unless a permanent and sustainable funding solution is found, all bets are off.
Latrobe shares considerable resources with the El Dorado Hills district, but its “expenditures are far above its revenue and its chief takes no salary or benefits from the district,” Applegarth said. “Rescue is underwater.”