During its July 12 meeting, the Plumas County Board of Supervisors finalized the last crucial step to establish a ballot measure that gives registered voters the say of whether to form one unified fire protection district to serve Eastern Plumas communities. If approved, Beckwourth Peak Fire Protection District (BPFPD/FPD) will provide fire and emergency services currently administered by Beckwourth Fire Protection District, Sierra Valley Fire Protection District, Gold Mountain Community Services District and the City of Portola, and will expand boundaries to include those currently outside of an assigned fire district.
“We have achieved significant wins to get Measures E and F on the ballot. First, receiving approval from the Plumas Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) to form a new district. Second, securing an agreement with Plumas County to receive a portion of monies collected from property taxes. And finally, receiving approval from the Board of Supervisors to place the measures on the November 2023 ballot,” says Cary Curtis, Vice Chair of Local Emergency Services Study Group (LESSG). “Now it is up to the voters.”
Combining resources, such as volunteer firefighters, staff, facilities, training and equipment will create significant efficiencies while aligning with current statewide and national standards of fire service practices.
“The application clearly demonstrated the efficacy of consolidation and reformation into one new FPD, which is why LAFCo provided approval,” said Jennifer Stephenson, Executive Officer, Plumas LAFCo. “Many rural communities are exploring similar efforts.”
Measure E and Measure F read, in part, Whether formation of the Beckwourth Peak Fire Protection District shall be approved, a special tax levied, and Board of Directors elected for such District. All three components, including a two-thirds majority vote in favor of the special tax, must pass for BPFPD to be formed. The new special tax will help provide the funding necessary to hedge rising costs for providing fire and medical response services.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of this measure to be considered by our community,” comments Fire Chief Russell of Beckwourth FPD. “Eastern Plumas County fire agencies are strapped for funding to effectively recruit volunteers and meet training requirements, which places a strain on fire departments to provide services. The new Special Tax will help provide the funding necessary to ensure services can continue. Our community deserves rapid, efficient responses, especially when they are at their most vulnerable,” said Chief Russell.
Beckwourth Peak FPD will be governed by an elected five-member Board of Directors that are registered voters and reside within the boundaries of the new BPFPD. Interested parties who want to run for a seat need to obtain and file a Declaration of Candidacy with the Plumas County Elections office. The Candidate Nomination Period is open July 17 through August 11, 2023.
Information about Measures E and F and Beckwourth Peak Fire Protection District is posted atwww.fireprotectplumas.org including a one-page Information Sheet that provides details about BPFPD, service boundaries, formation steps, and funding sources.
Board of Directors’ meetings for Beckwourth Fire District, Sierra Valley Fire District and Gold Mountain Community Services District, and City of Portola council meetings are open to the public and community members are encouraged to attend. Community-wide informational meetings will be held early Fall 2023.