For Immediate Release: June 16, 2016
Contact: Casey Hatcher, 530.538.6182
Butte County is holding several public meetings to gather more public input for the evaluation of options to restructure the Butte County Fire Department. The County opened up a survey this May to gather input from residents and received nearly 1,000 responses. Survey results indicate most of the respondents have had good experiences with the Butte County Fire Department and are satisfied with the service. At the same time, the majority of those who responded are interested in studying alternatives to the current Fire Department structure. “Like the public, we are also very pleased with the Butte County Fire Department,” said Paul Hahn, the County’s Chief Administrative Officer. “The relationship we enjoy with CAL FIRE, which provides staffing for the County Fire Department, has benefited both the County and the State. Our primary concern is the ability for the County to afford the current service into the future.”
Now, public meetings provide an opportunity for residents to provide their opinions for restructuring the Fire Department. Four meetings will be held throughout the County over the next two weeks at the following locations:
- Tuesday, June 21, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at the Paradise Memorial Hall, 6550 Skyway Road in Paradise.
- Wednesday, June 22, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at the Chico Memorial Hall, 554 Rio Lindo Avenue in Chico.
- Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at the Southside Community Center, 2959 Lower Wyandotte Road in Oroville.
- Wednesday, June 29, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at the Dorothy Johnson Center, 775 E. 16th Street in Chico.
The Butte County Fire Department is an all-hazard fire department that provides structure fire protection and basic life support to the residents of unincorporated Butte County. The County has entered into a cooperative agreement with CAL FIRE to provide the personnel for the County Fire Department. Because CAL FIRE has an ongoing presence in the area to carry out their mission of protecting the State Responsibility Area from wildland fires, this cooperative agreement results in a mutually beneficial relationship between the County and the State.
The cooperative agreement does have a down side for the County: cost increases are out of the direct control of the Board of Supervisors. The State negotiates salary and benefits and the County has no say. This results in cost increases that are determined outside the context of the Butte County economy, and imposed on the County with no consideration of local bargaining needs.
During the 2015-16 budget hearings, the Board of Supervisors directed staff to explore options to reduce the impact fire services has on the County General Fund