Arcata Fire Press Release
MEASURE A REJECTED BY DISTRICT VOTERS
(ARCATA, CA) – November 4, 2015 – Voters in the Arcata Fire District have rejected Measure A, a ballot measure that would have allowed the District to increase staffing at all three fire stations. Measure A received a 45 percent “Yes” vote.
"Despite the fact that the measure did not pass this time, I'm committed to continuing the ongoing effort to increase staffing to serve the needs of our residents. Doing nothing is not an option when we look at the needs of the community," said Fire Chief Desmond Cowan.
Rejection of Measure A means that the community will continue to receive service with only two career firefighters on each engine and will have to rely a supplemental response by volunteers and off-duty career personnel. A FEMA grant is currently
providing funding to add a third firefighter at one station, but that funding is temporary. The District employs 23 career firefighters in addition to having 18 active volunteer firefighters and 11 logistic volunteers.
The District has committed through its' strategic planning process to bring on-duty staffing up to the industry standard of three career firefighters per engine. "The Strategic Plan developed with community input and the input we received through community outreach has been consistent; increase staffing to meet the growing needs of the community. I intend to keep working to modernize our staffing and operations for the benefit of our District. It’s apparent that with Measure A we just didn’t do a good enough job communicating the benefit to our voters," Cowan said.
The Fire District may choose to bring back a funding measure as soon as June of 2016. According to Board Chair Linda Sundberg, "Some people may see this vote as a mandate against a tax increase, but our residents still expect us to bring our on-duty staffing level up to three on an engine."
The Fire District Board will meet at Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 5:30 p.m. at the D Street Neighborhood Center in Arcata.