Firefighters Dustin Emick and Mark Robertson spent their day off on Saturday knocking on doors in the Alta Sierra area to explain the need for a new fire tax that will be mailed out to registered voters within the Nevada County Consolidated Fire district in early February.
“They’re not backfilling overtime. So if somebody calls in sick, that station is a brown out station, so there will be nobody at that station because we don’t have the money or the manpower to put there.”
That is firefighter Mark Robertson, he works out of the Nevada City Fire station. He says he is number 6 of the 6 firefighters on the list to be laid off if the tax does not pass. Director of the Nevada County consolidated Fire District Board Dave Hanson confirms these cuts will affect Grass Valley and Nevada City fire as well.
“If this fire measure does not pass, we will be reducing our manpower by at least six personnel, which will take a couple of engines off the road which will be detrimental to the entire county and have a greater affect on both the city of Grass Valley and Nevada City.”
The Alta Sierra fire station has browned out twice in the past 2 weeks, meaning that they did not have the staff to operate the engines. The funding for fire protection in the district comes from property taxes, which have dwindled during the recession as well as a drastic increase in disability insurance. The current cut to funding is around a half million dollars. Next year’s budget, without the new tax is $850 million dollars, calling for the cuts to staffing and closing of stations.