Delaying for a week what is almost certainly a vote to close four fire stations in central Contra Costa County, the Board of Supervisors, acting as the Board of Directors for the Contra Costa County Fire District, took several hours of public testimony and asked Fire Chief Daryl Louder for more information.
Louder, citing the failure of voters in November to pass Measure Q, which would have imposed a $75 percent tax on homes, said that declining property tax revenue and increasing costs of health care and pensions have left with fire district with no option but to close, at least temporarily, four fire stations.
- Station 4 at 700 Hawthorne Dr. in Walnut Creek
- Station 11 at 6500 Center Ave. in Clayton
- Station 12 at 1240 Shell Ave. in Martinez
- Station 16 at 4007 Los Arabis Ave. in Lafayette
Louder told the board that the response times are already above that of national standards, and the closure of four additional stations will only make the situation worse. He is proposing the increased use of reserve firefighters and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to help offset the reduction in firefighting staff.
Closing the four stations will save a total of $10 million, Louder said.
Elected officials and members of the public from each affected city rose to express concern about the closures, and asked to look for options that would preclude closing stations.
"The public has spoken, and the fire district has to live within its means," said board chairwoman Mary Piepho, who noted that a fire station closed in her East County neighhorhood last year, a victim of similar budget woes.
Patch will continue to follow this story as it unfolds. Stay tuned.