THE EAST CONTRA COSTA FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT BOARD OF DIRECTORS VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO HALT THE BALLOT ASSESSMENT PROCESS

United Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa County Press Release


THE EAST CONTRA COSTA FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT BOARD OF DIRECTORS VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO HALT THE BALLOT ASSESSMENT PROCESS


Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014


The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD) Board of Directors voted unanimously to halt the “benefit assessment” process that had been initiated in an effort to obtain additional revenue for the cash strapped District. This assessment, if passed would bring approximately 4 million dollars into the Fire District, which would help maintain 5 fire stations. Without the additional revenue, the District has said it would have to permanently close two of the five fire stations once the funding received, due to a two year federal grant, ending mid November of this year. This would also lead to firefighter lay-offs. The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD) covers 249 square miles which includes the cities of Brentwood and Oakley, and the unincorporated communities of Bethel Island, Knightsen, Discovery Bay, Byron, and Morgan Territory. The closures would mean that 9 firefighters would be responsible for providing fire and emergency services for the entire District on a daily basis. This would increase response times significantly and would limit the ability to respond to multiple emergencies or handle major disasters.


The cause of the balloting error was due to the implementation of inaccurate data when applying the cost of the “special benefit” to each property owner. The amount required by each property owner was determined by a point system that was based on fire district access, proximity to a fire station or hydrant, and other fire prevention components of each property. The inaccuracy of hydrant locations and street locations contributed to most of the errors.


The ballots in question were mailed out on August 22, 2014 and were due to be counted on October 6, 2014.


“This is very disappointing to the firefighters who serve this community as well as its residents, says Vince Wells, President of the United Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa County, Local 1230. It is another devastating blow to the morale of our firefighters and those who have worked hard to get the message out to the community regarding the assessment and its importance. We hope the errors are found and corrected in a way that will assure the public’s trust in the process and the accuracy of each assessment. We support the board’s decision to halt the process in order to assure the accuracy of each and every ballot. However, the impact of this mistake could be devastating to this Fire District if the public rejects this assessment because of it.”


District Staff was directed to research the problem and report back to the board with further recommendations at the next scheduled board meeting.


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If you’d like more information or to schedule an interview please contact Vince Wells, President at 925.768.5374 or [email protected]