Contracting out with LA County Fire?
Why are we exploring contracting out with LA County Fire?
Over the last decade, the West Covina Fire Department has consistently been cut. The department now finds itself in a 27-million-dollar hole. With the prospect of outdated equipment, stations that are inhabitable, and the potential layoff of 30 firefighters, the City formed a committee to explore the viability of LA County Fire Department services.
What is the LA County Fire Exploratory Committee?
It is a committee formed that included representatives from West Covina City Management, West Covina Fire Management, West Covina Fire Labor representatives, and West Covina Finance Department personnel in order to research the viability of contracting out with LA County Fire Department.
Is this being forced on the Firefighters?
No, although the West Covina Firefighters have no say in the decision of contracting out, the City Council and City Management have given us a seat at the table and been in constant communication with the employees. The gathering of information has been a collaborative task and involved a team effort.
Will West Covina Firefighters be laid off?
No. If the city contracts with LACo, no firefighters would lose their jobs. However, if the city does not find a financial solution, there is a potential of further closure of Fire Stations.
Does it save money?
Yes. The LA County Fire Exploratory Committee unanimously voted in support of contracting out with LACo Fire. The committee found that not only did LA County Fire provide a better service to the community, it also found that it would save upwards of 55 million dollars over the next 10 years. The contracting out was also endorsed by the city’s independent Finance and Audit Committee on June 11th, 2020.
Will it increase response times?
No. All data gathered shows that response time would remain as they are and sometimes improve.
What are brownouts?
The process of completely shutting down a Fire Station when a Firefighter is sick or on vacation.
Are we closing stations if contract out?
Yes. Part of the committee findings were that LA County Fire had more than enough units surrounding the city and that it would be a waste of taxpayer money to keep Station 1 and Station 5 open. This is the benefit of the shared resource model provided by LA County Fire Currently West Covina’s boarders often prevent the closest fire engine or ambulance to respond to an emergency. With shared resources, the closest fire engine or ambulance responds to your home regardless of what city you live in. This provides the most cost effective and efficient form of emergency service to citizens. LA County Fire would keep and sometimes improve the current response times that we have.
How do brownouts affect the citizens?
It’s a reckless response to underlying problems. Closing down Fire Station without having the support of LA County Fire to respond in support of that station would greatly increase response times risk firefighters lives and put the lives of citizens in the city at risk. Brownouts would not fix the equipment, station, or staffing issues.
How does it affect my taxes?
No. West Covina would be entering a fee for service contract with LACo fire This means the fire service is provided for a fee which is over $3 million below the current fire department budget. LACo Fire is not paid for through additional taxes and will not require an increase in taxes.
Will our firefighters remain in the city?
Some will and some won’t If contracted the make up of LACo Fire would include some of the same firefighters you are used to and some of men and women from the LACo Fire, including some that live within our city.
Where can I gather more information?
WEST COVINA FIRE DEPARTMENT
1444 W. Garvey Ave. South
West Covina, CA 91790
(c) 626-221-9943 (o) 626-939-8830 (f) 626-939-8650
PO Box 5191
West Covina, CA 91791
Finance and Audit Presentation by the Fire Chief
Fire Chief Presentation link