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Cosumnes Community Services District board to consider periodically unstaffing one Galt fire station

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Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2013 4:58 pm

The Cosumnes Community Services District, which provides fire service to Galt and Elk Grove, may stop staffing the Galt fire station in the eastern part of the city on a rotating basis.

Facing a $100,000 deficit to its fire department operations by June 30, Fire Chief Tracey Hansen has recommended two possible solutions to the deficit:

  • Not staffing the Galt fire station on Walnut Avenue, east of Carillion Boulevard, for 48 hours at a time. It would rotate staffing with three of Elk Grove’s stations.
  • Eliminating staffing Station 74, in the Laguna area of Elk Grove.

The stations would continue to be staffed with paramedics for medical calls, said Guy Rutter, the only district board member who lives in Galt. However, the Walnut Avenue station, when it is its turn to be unstaffed, would not have any firefighters available for structure or grass fires.

By periodically closing the eastern Galt fire station, the city would have only one manned fire station — on Fifth Street between B and C streets — except for medical emergencies.

The district’s board of directors will meet Wednesday in Elk Grove to possibly make a decision.

The Galt City Council, which doesn’t have any official decision-making capacity regarding fire service, will discuss the issue on Tuesday night. City Manager Jason Behrmann wants the Galt City Council to recommend against periodic closure of the Walnut Avenue station and authorize someone representing the city to attend Wednesday’s meeting of the Cosumnes Community Services District.

Behrmann said in a staff report that closure of the eastern Galt station for 48 hours at a time would increase response times from Oldtown Galt.

Additionally, if the Fifth Street station was on another call at the same time fire service is dispatched east of Highway 99, the east side call would require help from either Elk Grove or the Woodbridge district, which covers the area south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin county line, Behrmann said.

“The question is do we want to move (staff) around and spread it equally?” Rutter said. “I appreciate everybody’s concern.”

The Community Services District faces the $100,000 budget deficit due to increased workers’ compensation overtime during the current fiscal year, Hansen said in a staff report.

Hansen’s recommendation comes from a “cost-savings committee” consisting of fire department management and labor representatives.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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