In a move to create more efficient and less costly protection for residents and businesses in Oakdale, the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire District approved a plan on Thursday, Aug. 8 to study possible annexation of the city’s fire department.
The plan also includes annexing the Oakdale Rural Fire Department.
Many fire departments across the state are turning to a variety of joint ventures to provide the level of service their communities need while conserving scarce resources. They are applying a wide variety of approaches, ranging from the informal sharing of individual personnel or equipment to the formal consolidation of departments across jurisdictional lines.
“This doesn’t commit any of the communities to any of it (annexation),” said Stanislaus Consolidated Interim Fire Chief Brian Kelley. “It’s only a study.”
Under the proposal that was passed by the district board, Stanislaus Consolidated Fire District will pay no more than $25,000 to Capitol Public Finance Group of Sacramento to study the financial obligations, personnel service levels, and other factors to make a decision into the feasibility of the annexation.
The possible annexation would provide for an expanded tax base to the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire District and would reduce redundancy in apparatus, personnel and equipment costs, and may also identify areas for savings not foreseen at the outset by providing more efficient application of available resources.
It is unknown if it would identify the closure of any existing stations or other fire facilities.
“From discussions, Oakdale Rural officials would like to merge with our organization,” Kelly said during the proposal.
The study is anticipated to be completed by October 2013 and, if annexation went through, would have to be forwarded to the county assessor’s office by January 2014 to realign boundaries for property tax purposes.
If there are any tax increases, the plan would have to be approved through the Proposition 218 tax increase process.
For the entire story, read the Aug. 14 edition of The Leader.