A hotly disputed tax measure went down to thunderous defeat late Tuesday in the Bodega Bay Fire Protection District, where fire officials have said a third of the nine-member staff would have to be laid off by next year if the tax failed.
Work is set to start next month on a new fire station in the Fountaingrove area that initially was opposed by some residents who said it didn’t belong in an upscale hillside development.
A sharply divided Santa Rosa City Council on Tuesday approved a new three-year contract for firefighters that some members praised as saving the city money by shifting more pension costs onto workers but others criticized as including raises the city couldn’t afford.
Santa Rosa and its firefighters have reached a tentative, nearly three-year labor agreement calling for them to receive salary increases totaling 4.5 percent but also requiring them to pay 12 percent toward their pensions by 2015.
Talks are under way about how three fire agencies should divide a one-time $1.5 million payment that the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria is giving to Sonoma County to address impacts from the casino being built outside Rohnert Park.
For 155 years, Healdsburg has had its own fire department and, despite recent funding struggles, it appears it won’t be going away anytime soon. The City Council this week quickly dismissed the possibility of Cal Fire, the state agency, taking over fire duties in the city.
Dave Albaugh was waiting to hear if his wife’s car was repairable after a collision when he got an unexpected call from his insurance agent. She asked about a $550 bill to reimburse Petaluma for sending emergency personnel to the crash. Albaugh, a retired Coast Guard lieutenant commander, was surprised, thinking his taxes already pay for such public services.
Two Santa Rosa fire stations that are ‘browned out’ because the city can’t afford enough firefighters to fully staff them will be returned to full service soon, thanks to a $2.6 million federal grant.