The Galt City Council would rather see an Elk Grove fire station shuttered by the Cosumnes Community Services District than face a brown-out in Galt with a rotating engine company.
On Tuesday, council members agreed to have Mayor Marylou Powers send a letter to the district advocating the city's preference. She plans to speak at tonight's district meeting.
CCSD, which provides fire and emergency service for both Galt and Elk Grove, is looking at cost-savings measures due to budget shortfalls. It has offered two options:
- Completely closing the Laguna area fire station in Elk Grove.
- Rotating an engine company between several fire stations (including Station No. 46 in northeast Galt on Walnut Avenue, east of Carillion Boulevard), thus leaving the stations without coverage for structure and grass fires every 48 hours. Paramedics for medical calls would still be on-site.
Although the city council does not have an actual vote in the matter, council members are concerned that this proposal could drastically increase emergency response times.
Without an engine company at Station No. 46, it would leave only one engine company on 5th Street to respond. And, if that crew was already on a call, an engine company from Elk Grove or Woodbridge would be called in for mutual aid, according to City Manager Jason Behrmann.
"It's when it takes eight, 10 minutes to respond. That's when we're talking about significant issues," he said Tuesday. "If we have just one (engine company), it leaves us vulnerable."
Councilman Curt Campion was especially concerned by the potential brown-out, due to the geography of Galt and the distance between the city and Elk Grove.
"We would be at an unfair disadvantage," he said of only having one fire station at times. "This would leave Galt in a precarious position if there were two calls."
Resident Al Baldwin also spoke out against the second option and suggested that if the district can't find the money to balance its budget, perhaps Galt should return to a volunteer fire department.
The district is facing a $101,000 deficit for the current fiscal year, which ends in June. A temporary engine company shutdown could save an estimated $112,500 per month in overtime expenses, according to Fire Chief Tracey Hansen.
The recommendation came from a cost-savings committee.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.