Wednesday night, the Oroville City Council met for the third of three budget meetings. The council had asked each city department to come up with a proposal slashing 18% from it's budget. The interim city manager also came up with a plan to cut 18% from each department. In the case of the Oroville Fire Department, council members chose to go with the manager's proposal, which would cut three engineer positions. Two of those engineers will move in to open firefighter positions for less pay, and one will be layed off.
But that did not reach the 18% needed to reach the budget proposal. The council was considering cutting the Oroville Fire Department's Fire Marshall, and the administrative assistant. Chief Charles Hurley said that was not a good option, so he offered to have his position cut instead.
Two of the council members left the meeting, and there were not enough members left to vote on that proposal. So that decision has been delayed until the next meeting, set for July 1st.
Meanwhile, the El Medio Fire Chief Rusty Ohlhausen says that if the chief's position is cut, he will end his department's mutual aid agreement with the city of Oroville. He says a chief needs to oversee multiple departments in a disaster, and sending his firefighters into a situation with no leader could jeopardize his team.
Following the meeting, Mayor Linda Dahlmeier said she was not prepared to respond to that situation without further analysis.