By Bay City News Service
Contra Costa County Fire Protection District officials will meet with community members in Lafayette Tuesday night to discuss the closure of a fire station that shut its doors today.
Fire Station 16, located at 4007 Los Arabis Ave. in Lafayette, closed this morning, along with fire stations in Martinez, Clayton and Walnut Creek.
The closures were prompted by the fire district's $17 million budget deficit and the failure of a parcel tax measure in November that district officials hoped would close the budget gap.
Fire Chief Daryl Louder said plummeting property tax revenues -- the district's main source of income -- plus rising operational and personnel costs created the deficit.
It persisted despite the district's efforts to cut costs through layoffs, the elimination of positions and increased employee contributions to benefit plans, he said.
With no other viable options, the county Board of Supervisors last month approved Louder's plan to shutter the four stations.
Tonight's meeting is a chance for community members to learn about why the station was closed and how the closure will affect fire and medical crews' response times to emergencies in the area.
About two dozen residents living near the now-closed fire station on Shell Avenue in Martinez attended a similar meeting last week.
The meeting is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. at the Veteran's Memorial Building at 3780 Mt. Diablo Blvd. in Lafayette.
Copyright © 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.