The immediate fiscal impact related to today's action is $8,790 filing fees due to LAFCO, $1,200 in fees due to the County Surveyor, and $75 in filing and handling fees related to the Notice of Exemption. Based on the fiscal analysis completed by AP Triton in their “Fire District Annexation Feasibility Study” (July, 2021, pp. 155-163) the fiscal impact of annexation is anticipated to be positive, providing funding for additional resources and increases in reserves over the 5-year projection period. For the first full year of combined operations, expected to be FY 2022/2023, the total revenue available from the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District is estimated at $20.5 million with anticipated expenses for personnel and services provided at $18 million, including the opening and staffing of Fire Station 55 in Oakley and the staffing of an additional crew at Fire Station 52 in Brentwood. (100% Fire District General Fund)
East Contra Costa Fire Protection District History and Current Operations
The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD) is a relatively new fire district, having been formed in 2002 by the consolidation of the East Diablo Fire District (EDFD), Oakley Fire District (OFD), and Bethel Island Fire District (BIFD). The ECCFPD encompasses an area of approximately 249 square miles. Data from U.S. Census Bureau indicates a 2019 resident population of approximately 139,000 persons.
The ECCFPD is an all-hazards fire district providing traditional structural fire suppression, wildland firefighting, basic life support emergency medical services (EMS) and rescue services, deploying its apparatus and personnel from three fire stations. The ECCFPD has an ISO Public Protection Classification (PPC ®) rating of 4/9. The ECCFPD contracts with Cal Fire for winter staffing of a three-person engine located near Morgan Territory on Marsh Creek Road.
ECCFPD’s Fire Prevention Bureau provides inspections, code enforcement, plan reviews, fire investigations, and various public education programs. In addition, the Bureau conducts inspections of public and private properties for compliance with its weed abatement ordinance.
For emergency operations, the ECCFPD relies heavily on CCCFPD for automatic and mutual aid assistance on a daily basis due to reduced staffing levels of the ECCFPD. The lack of adequate fire and EMS resources within the ECCFPD service area leads to an overdependence on aid and support from CCCFPD which, in turn, places a burden on CCCFPD to provide a balance of support to ECCFPD communities and the communities served directly by CCCFPD along the Highway 4 corridor.
Multiple LAFCO Municipal Services Review (MSR) studies have concluded that annexation of the ECCFPD into the larger Contra Costa County Fire Protection District would provide improved levels of service, strengthen firefighter training programs, reduce response times, and be more efficient than the current structure of service delivery.
ECCFPD Organizational Structure
The ECCFPD employs 37 uniformed and non-uniformed personnel, which includes 10 Firefighters, nine Engineers, nine Captains, four Battalion Chiefs. The Fire Chief supervises several administrative and support staff positions, the Fire Marshal, and four Battalion Chiefs (BCs).
Three Battalion Chiefs are responsible for their respective shifts (A, B, and C) in addition to managing one of three programs – Logistics, Training, or EMS & Safety. A fourth BC supervises Fire Suppression/Operations.
The Fire Marshal supervises two Fire Inspectors and one administrative position within the Bureau. The Fire Chief has direct supervision of the Chief Administrative Officer and several other administrative positions.
In December 2020, an annexation study was commissioned to determine the feasibility of annexing the ECCFPD and the Rodeo-Hercules Fire Protection District (RHFPD). The findings of that study were presented to the governing bodies of all three fire protection districts in mid-July 2021. The study concluded that the annexations are feasible and recommended that Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (CCCPFD) pursue the annexation of both ECCFPD and RHFPD. This board order concerns only the annexation of the ECCFPD. If the annexation of RHFPD is recommended, it will be subject to a separate approval process.
Proposal for Annexation
The District will request the annexation of the ECCFPD be taken pursuant to the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000, Division 3, commencing with Section 56000 of the California Government Code for annexation, by the District, of the territory within the ECCFPD.
The District will further request that, under the Contra Costa Local Agency Formation Commission’s (LAFCO) conditioning powers under Government Code section 56886, the annexation of the ECCFPD be subject to the following terms and conditions:
Successor Agency. Upon and after the date of recording in the official records of Contra Costa County of LAFCO’s final and complete approval of the dissolution of the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District and the District’s assumption of the duties and obligations of the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (the “Effective Date”), the District shall be the successor to the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District. All rights, responsibilities, properties, contracts, assets and liabilities, and functions of the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District are to be transferred to the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District as the successor to the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District.
Employees. From and after the Effective Date, all employees of the dissolved East Contra Costa Fire Protection District shall become employees of the District.
Duties. The District, as the successor agency, shall function under and carry out all authorized duties and responsibilities assigned to a Fire Protection District as outlined in the Division 12, Part 2.7, Chapter 1, Health & Safety Code, Fire Protection District Law of 1987 (commencing with Section 13800) and other applicable laws.
Revenue Transfer. Before LAFCO issues the Certificate of Filing for the reorganization (Revenue and Taxation Code Section 99(b)(6)), the Board of Directors of the District shall commence and complete a property tax transfer process to be effective prior to issuance of the LAFCO Certificate of Filing, and take all other required steps to transfer from the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District to the District all income, from taxes or any other source, for which there is a continuing right to tax distribution, or historical distribution or allocation of funds, including but not limited to Measure H funds and Byron-Bethany Irrigation District funds. All previously authorized charges, fees, assessments, and/or taxes currently in effect, levied or collected by the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, including through municipal and county development impact fees and community facilities districts, shall continue to be levied, collected, tracked, expended, and administered by the successor agency in accordance with the authorizing actions of such financial mechanisms.
Oversight; Advisory Commission. The composition of the District Board of Directors shall remain unchanged. The composition of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Advisory Fire Commission shall be adjusted to ensure that at least one member of the advisory fire commission is a resident of land currently within the service area of the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District until the existing three-station deficit in the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District's service area is addressed and eliminated.
Land Rights. The reorganization does not change the rights the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District had in the lands in their respective territories immediately prior to the reorganization. Those rights run with the land and will become District rights as the successor.
Service Demand. The District will eliminate the current deficit of three fire stations within the East Contra Costa County Fire Protection District service area and will strive to do so within six years after the Effective Date and, thereafter, will build additional necessary stations as soon as practicable to meet the needs of the East Contra Costa County Fire Protection District service area, based on the anticipated development in the area over the next 20 years.
The annexation of the ECCFPD into the District will enable the reorganized district to better meet the emergency fire, rescue, and medical service needs of the residents of the District, as described in the Service Plan attached hereto as Attachment B. Ultimately, this request is in the best interest of the residents served in the East County area and the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars.
The application seeking annexation of the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District will not be filed.
Speakers: Joe Young, Director East Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (written commentary attached); Jared, Fire Captain.