TWENTYNINE PALMS FIRE DEPARTMENT BALANCES BUDGET WITH PERSONELL CUTBACK

TWENTYNINE PALMS FIRE DEPARTMENT BALANCES BUDGET WITH PERSONELL CUTBACK

Facing a financial deficit, the Twentynine Palms Fire Department has been forced to cut back on its service level for 2014-15, but has balanced their budget. According to the District’s newsletter, projections for the department had shown they would slip into a deficit had they maintained the same level as in 2013-14. The Twentynine Palms Fire Department is funded only by a voter-approved special parcel tax of $80 per unit with no inflation adjuster. State law prohibits any water funds to be used for fire protection. Twentynine Palms Fire is operated under the Water District because it was the only government entity in Twentynine Palms when the Department was formed over 50 years ago. While the Water District had offered fire protection responsibility to the City, they reneged, unhappy with City plans to contract with the County for fire protection. In May 2012, a tax measure to increase the $80 tax failed. At that time, the district reduced the fire service level by closing the Lear Avenue Fire Station. The balanced budget for FY 2014-2015 was accomplished by keeping the Lear station closed, reducing daily staffing from six full- time paid firefighters to only five, eliminating a part-time administrative position, and having employees contribute more to their retirement and health benefits.

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