Riverside County supervisors today approved a proposal to increase administrative and support charges paid by most local cities and the county for Cal Fire services.
Without comment, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the cost
allocation plan that contains higher total expenses for 20 cities and the
county in the current fiscal year. The costs include outlays to maintain
support staff who oversee payroll and purchase equipment, as well as outlays
for dispatch services, fleet repairs, the hazardous materials unit and the
reserve firefighter program.
Cities are billed directly for fire protection services and for some
additional expenses, including electricity to power fire stations and keep them
in working order. However, the leftover costs are spread among municipalities
and the county.
The county contracts with the California Department of Forestry for fire
protection services, and most of the incorporated cities within the county,
in turn, contract with the county.
According to the new cost allocation plan, total shared administrative
and support costs are expected to come to $36.5 million in 2012-13. That's a 12 percent jump from the $32.5 million in 2011-12.
The county will continue to pay the largest sum -- $16.8 million, up
from $14.8 million the year before -- under the plan. Its share includes costs
incurred servicing the city of Jurupa Valley, which has not been able to meet
its obligations because of state budget cuts.
The five cities with the highest cost burdens are:
- Moreno Valley, $2.79 million, up 12 percent
- Palm Desert, $1.92 million, up 6 percent
- Temecula, $1.77 million, up 5 percent
- Indio, $1.76 million, up 6 percent
- Menifee, $1.53 million, up 9 percent
According to county fire department documents, the city of Beaumont's
costs are going down 3 percent, and the Rubidoux Community Services District's costs are falling by 10 percent.
The cost allocation plan is the product of a committee composed of staff
from Cal Fire, the county, the cities of Indian Wells, Moreno Valley, Palm
Desert, Rancho Mirage and Temecula, along with representatives from Rubidoux.
The plan will be retroactive to July 1.
This fiscal year represents the first time since 2007-08 that total
pooled costs have risen, according to documents. Actual costs will be
recalculated in the fourth quarter of the current fiscal year.