Santa Rosa has struck sweeping pension agreements with its police and fire unions that are expected to save the city millions in coming years. The tentative agreements, which head to the City Council on March 20, establish lower pension benefits for new workers, increase the amount employees must pay toward their pensions and institute anti-spiking provisions.
Cal-OSHA slapped the Santa Rosa Fire Department with a $2,700 fine after spotting a photo in The Press Democrat of a firefighter standing on the roof without a safety harness. The city is contesting the fine, saying the state’s rules are unclear and not evenly enforced. But OSHA says the law is clear. What do you think?
Fifteen minutes in a burning building was plenty for Santa Rosa City Councilman Scott Bartley to confirm he was never destined for a career in firefighting. ‘I felt like a loaf of French bread in an oven,’ a sweat-drenched Bartley said after exiting the Santa Rosa Fire Department’s live-burn training structure.
As part of the state budget, the Legislature imposed new fees on rural landowners to fund fire protection services. There’s only one problem, according to Sonoma County fire chiefs Randy Collins and Dan Northern: Many rural residents are now paying twice for services they are already receiving from their local fire department. They say the new fees threaten local fire districts.
The Windsor and Rincon Valley fire districts have joined forces to create Central Fire, a new administrative agency that will oversee both fire departments. The unified command structure is designed to save money following the retirement of longtime Windsor Chief Ron Collier, who will not be replaced.
UPDATE: Interim Santa Rosa Fire Chief Mark McCormick, a 20-year veteran of the department, has been permanently named to the post. City Manager Kathy Millison says he will bring fresh ideas and innovation to the department during financially challenging times.
Since the beginning of the year, the Santa Rosa Fire Department has required a separate review of building plans for residential solar arrays and inspection of them once installed. On Monday, it announced it would turn over that role to the city’s building department. Critics said the additional bureaucracy was time consuming, expensive and unnecessary.
Plentiful sunshine, environmentally conscious residents and innovative public financing options have contributed to Santa Rosa outshining others when it comes to installation of photovoltaic systems. But that success is being threatened, some in the solar industry say, by burdensome fire regulations that reduce the size of many residential solar systems, increase their cost and in some cases may be unnecessary.
Healdsburg, Geyserville and the County of Sonoma are getting more than $118,000 from a fund established to offset the impacts of River Rock Casino. Most of the money is going to the county to build a path next to Geyserville Bridge to make it safer for pedestrians