WATSONVILLE — The Watsonville City Council approved a proposal Tuesday to explore potential fire service consolidation options, with the hope that it will eventually reduce costs for a department that has consistently gone over its budget.
The City Council voted 5-2 in favor of the request for proposals (RFP), with councilmembers Nancy Bilicich and Trina Coffman-Gomez dissenting.
Organizations have until Aug. 15 to submit their proposals, and after analysis by city staff, the proposals will be given to the City Council, who will decide which organization to contract the services to. The proposals could address either a full level of service, or specific services such as fire prevention duties, said Ezequiel Vega, administrative services director.
On Feb. 26, Vega presented the council with a mid-year budget report, which showed that, as in the previous three years, the fire department exceeded its budget due to high amounts of overtime.
The Santa Cruz County Grand Jury’s independent audit of the city performed in the fall of 2012 recommended that the city review ways to lower costs in both the fire and police departments.
Fire Chief Mark Bisbee said the proposals would address the long-term stability of the fire department.
“As gut-wrenching and heart-aching as this process may be, I do believe that it is necessary,” he said.For the complete article see the 04-11-2013 issue.
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