CAMERON PARK, CA, Sept 27 2023 – The Board of Directors for the Cameron Park Community Services District made a decision on September 20th regarding the planned purchase of a fire engine worth around $400,000. Despite the lack of clear funding, the board voted on two motions related to the purchase. The first motion aimed to cancel the purchase agreement and transfer it to El Dorado Hills Fire, who agreed to pay the cancellation fee of $8,000 to take over the delivery timeline in 2025. This motion did not receive enough votes, with a 3-2 outcome against it. The second motion, which passed with a 3-2 vote, allowed the purchase agreement to continue, although the source of funding is yet to be determined.
During the voting process, Board President Sidney Bazett and Director Tim Israel voted in favor of canceling the purchase, while Vice President Monique Scobey and board members Dawn Wolfson and Eric Aiston rejected the first motion and supported the second.
In December 2022, CPCSD entered into an agreement with Golden State Fire Apparatus Incorporated to purchase a new Type 3 fire engine for approximately $394,000. This price is significantly lower than the current market price of $465,000 for a similar engine, as stated by EDH Fire Chief Maurice Johnson. CPCSD will only need to make payments for the engine after it is received in 2025. If funding cannot be identified by then, the district has the option to sell the engine before it becomes operational. Supporters argue that this could alleviate CPCSD’s debt burden.
The board approved a budget on August 16th, which predicts a deficit of $503,173 for the organization during the fiscal year 2023-24. Director Aiston believes that the fire engine is a valuable asset for the Cameron Park Fire Department, which is currently operated by Cal Fire through a contract. He suggests that having the engine would strengthen their position in negotiations for potential annexation into a neighboring fire district.
On the other hand, Director Bazett expresses concern about the uncertainties surrounding selling the engine without it being put into service. Should the decision be made to sell, it would be done through a public auction, and the full costs might not be recovered. In light of the deficit, Bazett believes that canceling the purchase is the most prudent decision.
Overall, there were differing opinions among the board members regarding the value and risks associated with the purchase, reflecting the uncertainties surrounding the funding and potential benefits of owning the fire engine.