Sunday, March 13, 2016

Humboldt: Supes to use Measure Z funds to cover fire, airport security gaps

The allocations will be paid for using the nearly $198,000 of Measure Z tax revenues that went unspent this fiscal year. - Will Houston/Times-Standard

About $63,000 is being recommended by county staff to pay for a “critical emergency services gap” along the State Route 299 corridor area, which is not covered by the nearby fire districts in Blue Lake, Kneeland and Willow Creek. These three fire districts have been responding to this large area on a “goodwill” basis for several years, but are unable to collect any fees from them.

“These three fire districts are currently called upon to provide this service, funded only by revenue generated from within their districts,” a Feb. 26 letter from the Humboldt County Fire Chiefs Association to the board states. “This is not a sustainable or equitable system and a new structure needs to be put in place. These three fire districts have communicated to the county that they are no longer in a financial position to continue to provide this service without funding.”

The proposed $63,000 would only cover fire services for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends on June 30.

Fifth District Supervisor Ryan Sundberg, who serves on the board’s Fire Services Committee with Fennell, said the majority of the service calls that districts receive in these uncovered areas are vehicle collisions and medical aid calls on SR 299.

“This is kind of bridge funding between now and the time we get the whole issue solved for Humboldt County for rural fire departments responding outside their district,” Sundberg said.