After receiving a comprehensive background report on the history of local fire services, the city council recently approved a financial feasibility analysis to chart their potential next step. Wildan financial Services will conduct the study.
In July, the city approved a two-year contract with Kings County to provide fire services. At that time, the council noted its willingness to contract with an outside agency to perform a study for a potential community fire district and to identify alternative methodologies that might be utilized to compensate the county for fire servies.
The cost of the study is not to exceed $15,000.
The city first entered into an agreement with the county for fire services in 1977. A year later, Proposition 13 was passed and placed a financial constraint on the county to provide fire services as per the 1977 agreement. Prop. 13 limited the amount property taxes could be increased.
In 1984, the city requested it join the Kings County Fire District and in 1993, the county established County Service Area No. 3 that included Corcoran. The fire service agreement was amended in 2001 and another new fire service agreement between the city and county was approved in 2006.
By 2012, the city and county agreed to a one-year contract. Until that time, the city had pulled from the state redevelopment agency (RDA) and the city’s general fund, with the general fund contributing $285,000 in 2011. The next year, the general fund took the hit for $357,000 with the RDA no longer in play.
The city’s current contribution is $522,100, with its two-year contract with the county calling for the same payment next year. The entire amount will come from the city’s general fund. Total operating costs for Station 11 (the fire station located in the city, next to the police department) are set at $1.08 million.
Counted within that total is $448,913 the county receives from “fire fund” property taxes from properties located within the City of Corcoran and $112,000 in county fringe properties. The fire fund is that designated portion of property tax monies the county receives that is earmarked for fire services.
Options available include creation of a local fire department, an option that has already been considered not viable. A second option is to remain with the county and negotiate a fair methodology for a fair contribution from the city.
That discussion includes the city’s contention that the majority of fire service calls for this area result from medical aid calls, not response to actual fires. That issue is complicated by the fact the city no longer has a hospital and there are no extended-hour urgent care facilities serving the community.
The third option is the one currently being explored: checking out the feasibility of a community fire district. This option looks at creating a district that would collect the current fire fund monies already being collected—with no increases in property taxes or other taxes. The amount provided by the city is a known quantity, while the amount in the surrounding county area is not.
Corcoran Police officers are searching for more information on a shooting which occurred Sunday, March 21 at approximately 5:20 p.m. in the 1200 block of King Avenue.