Butte Co. Supervisors Discuss Fire Prevention Options

With not enough money in the general fund to keep up with the cost of state fire services, County Supervisors will look at other options Tuesday.

Posted: Aug 28, 2018 4:23 AM
Updated: Aug 28, 2018 7:28 AM

Butte Co., Calif.-- Today the Butte County Board of Supervisors will discuss options for the best way to pay for fire protection.

For years, it's been a contract with Cal Fire, paid for by the county's general fund.

But with the price of the service from the state rising faster than the county can come up with the money, today County Supervisors will hear some alternate ideas.

One option is to create a community service district or a special fire district - maybe even several within the county - in which in addition to general fund money for fire protection, districts could vote on getting more fire services through property taxes or user-fees.

"There are 2 different types of funding options they're looking at, the fire district would be dependent on fire services, or potentially a county service area which can offer all types of services from drainage to water to lighting," said Butte County's Public Information Officer Callie Lutz.

One report shows that a $25 annual parcel fee could raise $1.1 million a year.

Supervisors asked for options last January, so they're not making a final decision Tuesday, just discussing them.

Of course, nobody is really suggesting that Cal Fire be replaced.

And even if the county were to find some other fire-protection provider, Cal Fire would still be a part of the picture.

"Cal Fire is always going to have a presence here in Butte County - we have the State Responsibility Area which Cal Fire is responsible for, we're always going to have a presence and relationship with Butte County since 1931 and whatever the board decides regarding financing, we're going to play a part in that and we hope to continue that relationship going forward," said Cal Fire Butte County Captain John Gaddie.

The meeting is today at 9 a.m. followed by a workshop at 11 a.m. to talk about the specific options, both held at 25 County Center Drive in Oroville.

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