There’s a sign posted on the Banner Mountain Fire Station saying “regretfully the Fire station is closed today due to funding reductions. To report an emergency dial 9-1-1.” Nevada County Consolidated Fire Chief Tim Fike says the closure is due to the department’s loss of over $500,000 in revenue due to falling property tax values, reduced revenue from new construction, and increased workers comp costs.
“The month of December is the rotating brown out month for Station 86 on Banner Mountain and if we do not have all of our staff on duty, then that station will be the one that is browned out and that is just because we do not have the budget to pay overtime for backfill.”
Chief Fike says the fire station brownouts are being rotated monthly between fire stations at Providence Mine, Alta Sierra Station on Tammy Way and station 86 on Banner Mountain. He says the brownouts have been in effect since the start of the fiscal year, but what’s new is that they now have a sign posted on days the affected fire station will be closed, so that people with an emergency do not go their seeking aid. Chief Fike says Banner Mountain residents will still have response in an emergency if they call 911.
“Our response plan is for the Providence mine station, Station 54 and Station 84 from Coyote Street respond to that area. Depending on what the incident is, if it’s a medical aid, it’s going to be one engine, closest resource. If it’s a structure fire, it will be four engines, closest resource.”
Seeing no other solution to the short staffing due to budget cuts, the Nevada County Consolidated Fire Board will be asking residents in the district to approve an additional assessment to supplement the fire budget in a special mail ballot in February.