By Mike Taborski
A group of Plumas County residents are now one step closer to becoming part of a fire protection district.
During its Monday, Feb. 8 meeting, the Local Agency Formation Commission, commonly known as LAFCo, approved waiving $12,000 in fees to cover the costs of the Municipal Service Review and the Sphere of Influence Update for homeowners who live in an area 8 miles west of Quincy that is not currently annexed to a fire protection district.
Speaking on behalf of many of the 74 families residing in Butterfly Valley, Keddie, Roundhouse Road and Old Highway communities; Tommy Miles and Bill Jacks addressed the LAFCo Board of Commissioners via a Zoom meeting, about the need for infrastructure to provide, among other things, more expeditious medical and fire protection for the residents living in that area.
In a written statement provided to the LAFCo commissioners, they explained that rather than create a new fire district in the county, their goal was to determine what needs to be done to annex into the neighboring Quincy Fire Protection District.
Their ultimate goal is to create a substation to fully serve that area. Jacks told the commission that the response time from Quincy can take as much as 30 to 40 minutes and having a substation in that area would serve as a base to provide a much more timely response to medical emergencies, structure fires and wildland fires. He said they have some equipment, including a fire engine acquired from the Meadow Valley Fire Department, that can be refurbished and made serviceable.
The written statement, signed by both Jacks and Miles, read in part: “Our neighbors have expressed strong support for this effort. Several of them have training and experience in fire fighting and emergency medical service, and others have an interest in acquiring that training and serving as responders. We have individuals with extensive expertise in construction and other fields who are willing to assist. It went on to say a new substation would also help with local burn projects and aid in the creation and maintenance of defensible space around these structures.”
Quincy Fire Chief Robbie Cassou said the Fire Protection District would begin exploring the possibilities and ramifications of annexing that area to the Quincy District. He said it would require a feasibility study to determine both the financial impact this would have, along with what impact serving that area would have on the district’s current infrastructure and equipment.
As has been mentioned in several past Grand Jury reports, LAFCo Commissioner and District 3 Supervisor Sherrie Thrall noted that there are several areas throughout the county that are currently not annexed to a special district. She said that both LAFCo and the County Board of Supervisors should continue to address this issue and encourage the residents in those areas to look into the potential benefits of annexing. She went on to ask LAFCo’s Executive Director Jennifer Stephenson to make this a standing item for discussion on future agendas.