East County Voters for Equal Protection (ECV) announced that the Honorable Noel Gallo, Oakland City Councilman, has agreed to be the Keynote Speaker at a Fire District Funding Workshop being held February 23, 2017, in Brentwood.
Councilman Gallo represents Oakland’s District 5, where the Oakland Ghost Ship fire occurred causing the death of 36 people. He will describe the importance of adequate fire and emergency medical services to a community and the implications of a catastrophic fire on local public safety policy and elected leaders.
East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD) is currently underfunded, receiving the lowest property tax allocation rate in the county. A recent study indicates that the district receives just $106 per resident, while fire districts in other parts of the county receive $366 or $349 per resident to provide the same services.
The funding workshop will cover the historical causes of the underfunding situation, how lack of funds has impacted ECCFPD response capability, and the procedural steps needed to correct the situation. While the public is not invited, members of the press will be in attendance, and State Senator Steve Glazer and Assemblyman Jim Frazier have also been invited.
Roughly two dozen government entities are on the guest list, including the cities of Brentwood and Oakley, the county, nine special districts and eight school-related entities.
Councilman Gallo has represented District 5 on the Oakland City Councilsince 2013. He is chair of the Council’s public safety committee, where he advocated for the creation of a Public Safety Oversight Commission. Gallo previously served on the staff of Oakland city manager Robert Bobb, and in 1992 he was the first Hispanic elected to the Oakland School Board, also serving as its President.
In addition to Gallo’s presentation, members of the East Contra Costa Fire Protection Board of Directors will present current and proposed conditions.
East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD) is currently underfunded, receiving the lowest property tax allocation rate of all fire districts in the county. A recent study indicates that the district receives just $106 per resident, while fire districts in other parts of the county receive $366 or $349 per resident to provide the same services.
There are 110,000 residents in the 249 square-mile district, and the district has funding for just three fire stations and nine firefighters. Response times far exceed national standards, as well as those standards mandated by Brentwood’s General Plan.
Entities invited to the Fire District Funding Workshop are:
General government role (5): Contra Costa County (David Twa), City of Brentwood (Gus Vina), City of Oakley (Bryan Montgomery), Town of Discovery Bay (Mike Davies), Bethel Island Municipal Improvement Dist.(Jeff Butzlaff);
Special/independent districts (9): Bay Area Rapid Transit (Grace Crunican), East Bay Regional Parks (Robert Doyle), BBK Union Cemetery Dist.(Barbara Fee), East Contra Costa Irrigation District (Patricia Corey), Contra Costa Mosquito Abatement District (Craig Downs), Contra Costa Flood Control (Mike Carlson), Contra Costa Water Dist. (Jerry Brown), Ironhouse Sanitary Dist. (Chad Davisson), RECL-800 Dist.(Robert Lyman);
School-related entities (8): Liberty Union High School Dist. (Eric Volta), Brentwood Elementary School Dist. (Dana Eaton), Contra Costa Community College Dist. (Dr. Fred Wood), County Board of Education (Karen Sakata), Oakley Elementary School Dist. (Greg Hetrick), Byron Elementary School Dist. (Debbie Gold), Antioch Unified School Dist. (Stephanie Anello), Knightsen Elementary School Dist, (Theresa Estrada).
California fire districts are funded principally by local property taxes, and the allocation percentage rate was set over 30 years ago. ECCFPD receives about 7.5% of the property taxes collected in East County while other fire districts in the county receive 14%, 15%, 20%, and 30% of the taxes collected in their respective areas.
East County Voters for Equal Protection is a non-partisan grass roots citizens action committee formed to address the unequal funding of fire and emergency medical services existing in 249 square miles of Eastern Contra Costa County. About 110,000 residents, as well as those who work and play in Eastern Contra Costa, have services funded at a level one-fourth to one-third of those levels in other parts of Contra Costa County. For more information contact committee Co-Chairs Hal Bray at firstname.lastname@example.org or Bryan Scott email@example.com. The group’s Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/EastCountyVoters/