Approve MOU for Route 239 in East County to connect Brentwood to Tracy; $2.1 Million for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
By Daniel Borsuk
Potentially facing the first-ever utility-induced electric power shutdown in parts of Contra Costa County, members of the Board of Supervisors discharged a barrage of questions on Tuesday about the preparedness of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District in handling potential emergencies during what could be a power shutdown lasting several days.
At the end, Supervisors learned CCCFPD is ready to handle whatever might come down from a PG&E power shutdown.
Supervisors relayed their concerns about the CCCFPD’s fire emergency readiness at Tuesday’s fire district meeting where supervisors also serve as the fire district’s fiscal and policymaking entity.
PG&E revealed plans on Tuesday it would intentionally shut down power serving Rossmoor and parts of the Lafayette-Moraga-Orinda areas on Wednesday, due to high winds and concerns the winds could knock down power lines sparking a fire. The power shutoff could last through Friday or longer depending on weather conditions.
CCCFPD Chief Lewis Broschard III forecast one-third of Rossmoor or 4,000 to 5,000 residents could be potentially harmed by a power outage. Many elderly residents living in senior housing don’t have backup electric generators, he said.
“We’re looking at longer response times due to traffic tie ups,” the chief said. This will require having equipment and personnel strategically located ahead of potential emergencies.
Broschard acknowledged that the fire district has encountered a roadblock in obtaining state pre-position funding.
When Chief Broschard informed supervisors that the district’s newly built Fire Station 16 in Lafayette will be officially opened on Wednesday, Board Vice Chair Candace Andersen, whose District 2 covers most of the areas PG&E has identified will have power shut off observed “We might not have power tomorrow to dedicate the station.”
Chief Broschard said the district recently accepted delivery of its newest bulldozer, the district’s second bulldozer that will provide district extra firefighting power in what has been “a quiet fire season” up to this point in time.
In other business, supervisors unanimously approved their 2020 schedule consisting of 30 meetings. Vice Chair Candace Andersen of Danville has already been elected chair for next year and District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood has been elected vice chair for 2020.
Supervisors also approved as consent items:
MOU for Route 239 in East County
An amended and restated Memorandum of Understanding between the county and the Contra Costa Transportation Authority concerning the development and federal funding for State Route 239 Project from Brentwood and Byron to Tracy. There were no public speakers concerning the $17.6 million project, $14 million in federal funding and $3.6 million in Local Road Fund.
$2.1 Million for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
Supervisors approved a $2,099,274 contract for the California Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program for the period of Oct. 1, 2019 through June 30, 2021. The grant is funded with federal money through the California Department of Community Services and Development.