It is with great pleasure that I announce that Rancho Adobe and Petaluma Fire Department have agreed to enter into a shared services agreement for another three years. In March, both Rancho Adobe Fire Protection District Board of Directors and the Petaluma City Council agreed to continue the positive relationship of a shared services agreement to provide Fire Chief administrative support to Rancho Adobe. My oversight of Rancho Adobe’s three fire stations, personnel, equipment, apparatus and records has proven to be very positive. The previous one-year period provided us opportunities to improve service to both communities and identified efficiencies and cost-effective means to further work in collaboration in all phases of emergency services. We have dropped response borders to allow the closest resource to respond to emergencies. Our resources are beginning to train together and move toward standardizing operations, as well familiarizing members with each other’s various apparatus. With the assistance and input of both organizations, we have moved toward integrating policies and procedures and standardizing certifications with new and improved task books for new members, as well as those in newly promoted positions. As we move forward, we recently instituted a Rancho Adobe part-time EMT ambulance to provide better service for our community and look to provide paramedic service in the future. However, our ability to respond to future emergencies faces a serious financial challenge.
Rancho Adobe Fire Protection District’s level of emergency service is slowly being compromised by the lack of a proper, consistent funding source. Current funding received through a $40 per household parcel tax (unchanged since 1993) has not kept up with a rising population and the subsequent demand for increased services. Rancho Adobe Fire District’s Board of Directors has produced a Five-Year Plan that shows a bleak picture for the Fire Department and shows the organization will face severe deficits. For 25 years, Rancho Adobe has received no new revenue and that lack of funding compromises our ability to respond to emergency calls in a safe and timely manner. With the possibility of future closures of fire stations and a reduction of staffing, poor and ineffective service may, unfortunately, be the ultimate outcome.
Our community must come together and decide to provide the needed revenue to keep Rancho Adobe Fire’s emergency services operating in an effective and efficient manner for now and the future. We hope we have your support.