GV Council approves fire assistance to Station 54
The Grass Valley City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved an agreement for Grass Valley fire to assist Nevada City Fire Station 54 in fire protection and emergency incidents due to the station’s transition into a brownout schedule following the departure of three Nevada County Consolidated firefighters from the station on April 19.
“I understand why we have to do this,” council member Jan Arbuckle said. “I don’t like that we have to do this. We tried to do this a while ago, and they didn’t want to do this… For me it’s about the safety of the residents of Nevada County and the safety of the firefighters. I don’t like this but I think it’s necessary.”
In October, the Nevada County Consolidated Fire board approved a proposal, on a 4-3 vote, to reduce staff from 30 to 27 firefighters in the district by declining to fill three vacant positions.
Nevada City Manager Mark Prestwich said the city came up with a plan to staff at least two of the station’s three 48-hour shifts by hiring a supplemental firefighter for up to 18 months, bringing the station’s staff to four firefighters and two interns beginning April 23.
The city applied for a federal grant that would fund the station full time for 24 months, and will likely receive a decision sometime between June 1 and Sept. 30.
Potential long-term funding for the station would come from a proposed June 2016 measure that would increase city sales tax by a quarter of a percent to accrue $290,000 annually.
“To my understanding there is no backup plan to this,” Buttron said. “On the days they are un-staffed, the system will have to flux to absorb that staffing… (This agreement) would only be good for 18 months.”
Grass Valley city documents state the station’s closure will increase responses primarily from Grass Valley’s Fire Station 2 and Consolidated Fire Station 84. Fire incidents will impact Grass Valley Fire Station 1 to compensate for Station 54’s brownout schedule and loss of resources.
Due to the brownout schedule, Nevada City firefighters will also not participate in certain strike team assignments in the joint operational area.
Council members expressed concern that Nevada City staff were not present at Tuesday night’s meeting, also addressing their perspective that Grass Valley has taken on more responsibility of fire safety in the joint operational area than Nevada City has.
“So this has been coming for a very long time and they’re asking us to bail them out,” council member Lisa Swarthout said. “… If this is what we have to do in the next 18 months to help with safety that’s fine, but beyond that they need to figure out what to do on their own.”
In other business, council members approved a decrease in the city’s home buyer subordination processing fee from $500 to $100
The council also accepted a resolution implementing water conservation standards as required by the state.
To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4236.
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