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Contra Costa County Fire Shuts Down Stations, Holds Community Meetings

"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."

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.

Andrew Peceimer January 15, 2013 at 09:48 PM
Dear Author, How about revealing what Fireman were paid in 2012 and the pensions? Why don't you follow the money? It would be great if you could provide additional information to give the readers more relevant information to know why there is a deficit.
Nancy Michelli January 16, 2013 at 05:46 AM
Andrew I think you should train to be a firefighter and work 48 hrs rotating shifts. Expose yourself to diseases of all kinds. Run into a burning building with 100 lbs of equipment when everyone else is running out. Work weekends and holidays. This is just a few of the things you would do as a firefighter. Do that for 30 years. Then complain about the pay and the retirement.
SalthePlumber January 16, 2013 at 05:02 PM
I wonder how many voters regret their choice of voting AGAINST the parcel tax? Taxes SUCK, right? But look at what you got for $75: Fire Engines, Firefighters and Paramedics, on a 24/7 basis. When the Homeowners Insurance Companies raise your Premiums because of sub-standard fire protection, that $75 is looking cheap! Also, higher insurance premiums dont provide for: Fire Engines, Firefighters and Paramedics on a 24/7 basis... Penny smart and Dollar foolish.

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