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New agency oversees Windsor and Rincon Valley fire districts

Doug Williams

By CLARK MASON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Central Fire: new name, same service.

That’s the motto for the newly created entity that began business Thursday representing both the Windsor and Rincon Valley fire districts.

Central Fire was formed by a “joint powers agreement” that created a new agency overseeing both fire departments.

Members of the public “won’t immediately see anything different, other than the way people answer the telephone here,” said Central Fire Chief Doug Williams, formerly Rincon Valley’s chief.

The transition to one administrative entity was facilitated by the retirement of longtime Windsor Chief Ron Collier at the end of July.

Central Fire does not intend to hire a full-time replacement for that position, leading to a savings of around $100,000, Williams said.

“As revenues have declined and expenses have increased, it put us in a position where we couldn’t maintain a fourth chief’s position,” he said.

The new arrangement is intended to provide a unified command structure and allow for other savings by eliminating duplication of staff duties and supplies.

Each fire district continues to exist with its own name, budget, firefighting staff and payroll.

Williams said emergency response times will not change, nor the way firefighters are dispatched.

The two adjacent, sprawling fire districts have worked closely in the past and have mutual response to many calls. For nearly five years, both chiefs worked at the Windsor fire headquarters at Old Redwood Highway and Ember Lane.

The declining property tax revenues that both districts rely on — coupled with increased health, pension and workers compensation costs — has spurred talk of full consolidation, to save even more money.

That would involve redrawing district boundaries and creating one elected board of directors instead of two. It would also require approval from the county’s Local Agency Formation Commission.

“The consolidation question has a lot more pieces to it,” Williams said. “We’re nowhere ready to make a good assessment of it at this point.”





3 Responses to “New agency oversees Windsor and Rincon Valley fire districts”

  1. Jamie Simon says:

    Contra Costa County has had Consolidated Fire Dept. for decades. One county , one FD. All the communities have fire protection and work under the umbrella of one Fire Dept. What’s not to like?

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  2. Money Grubber says:

    Wow. A newly created government agency.

    Who would have guessed that in dire economic times, the government is expanding itself.

    Who would have guessed?

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  3. I Smell Smoke in the Air says:

    Who does this new “agency” benefit in the final analysis? The taxpayers, the firefighters, who? If the only change is one chief retires and is not replaced, how is that different from one of these fire districts not replacing someone who leaves?

    This whole story has some big holes of missing information in it. Or, it never made sense, which would not been to unknown in small fire districts.

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