Costs For Fire Services Rise In Lake Elsinore, Wildomar

For the current fiscal year, Lake Elsinore's budgeted cost burden is now $927,680, up 6.75 percent over last fiscal year. In Wildomar, the budgeted cost burden is now $511,596, up 7.61 percent over last year.

Riverside County supervisors today approved a proposal to increase administrative and support charges paid by most local cities -- including Lake Elsinore and Wildomar -- for fire services contracted through the county.

Without comment, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the cost allocation plan that contains higher total expenses for 20 cities and the county in the current fiscal year. The costs include outlays to maintain support staff who oversee payroll and purchase equipment, as well as outlays for dispatch services, fleet repairs, the hazardous materials unit and the reserve firefighter program.

Cities are billed directly for fire protection services and for some additional expenses, including electricity to power fire stations and keep them in working order. However, the leftover costs are spread among municipalities and the county.

The county contracts with the California Department of Forestry for fire protection services, and most of the incorporated cities within the county, in turn, contract with the county.

According to the new cost allocation plan, total shared administrative and support costs are expected to come to $36.5 million in 2012-13. That's a 12 percent jump from the $32.5 million in 2011-12.

The county will continue to pay the largest sum -- $16.8 million, up from $14.8 million the year before -- under the plan. Its share includes costs incurred servicing the city of Jurupa Valley, which has not been able to meet its obligations because of state budget cuts.

Lake Elsinore and Wildomar will see increases. For the current fiscal year, Lake Elsinore's budgeted cost burden is now $927,680, up 6.75 percent over last fiscal year. In Wildomar, the budgeted cost burden is now $511,596, up 7.61 percent over last year.

The five cities with the highest cost burdens for fiscal year 2012/13 are:

-- Moreno Valley, $2.79 million, up 12 percent;

-- Palm Desert, $1.92 million, up 6 percent;

-- Temecula, $1.77 million, up 5 percent;

-- Indio, $1.76 million, up 6 percent; and

-- Menifee, $1.53 million, up 9 percent.

According to county fire department documents, the city of Beaumont's costs are going down 3 percent, and the Rubidoux Community Services District's costs are falling by 10 percent.

The cost allocation plan is the product of a committee composed of staff from Cal Fire, the county, the cities of Indian Wells, Moreno Valley, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage and Temecula, along with representatives from Rubidoux.

The plan will be retroactive to July 1.

This fiscal year represents the first time since 2007-08 that total pooled costs have risen, according to documents. Actual costs will be recalculated in the fourth quarter of the current fiscal year.

Teller of Truth October 03, 2012 at 01:51 AM
I say that with the tough life threatening jobs that they all do, give them whatever they need! The amount of money we pay at the theatre for entertainment, shouldn't be more than you pay a firefighter to save your kid from the 2nd story of a burning bldg. You won't see any actors rushing in to save you!
Christi October 03, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Tell the truth, My daughter did rush in to help people in a fire, I would have too. I know what you meant by the statement, but remember actors are people who care. We are now waiting to see if my daughters medical bills will be covered by her insurance. The ambulance alone was $1600. But I will tell you that even if they don't cover it, she would do it again, as would I.
Teller of Truth October 03, 2012 at 04:05 AM
Good for your daughter running back in there like that! She is one in a million, in a great way! I hope that all of your bills are covered. There are very few of us that would actually risk our own life & limb to help a fellow man. Not a lot of actors would, because their looks ARE their work & how they get paid.Thats totally understandable too. (Don't get me wrong, sure alot of them care to give their time & money to charities, but run into a burning bldg, not so much.) Thats why the real heros; OUR FIRE FIGHTERS, deserve any kind of backing (that us commoners) can give them. TELL your daughter GOOD JOB! Take care now.
Donald October 03, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Just to clarify things, these additional costs are not for the fire fighters or fire equipment in the elsinore valley. These are additional administrative costs that the State of California charges the County of Riverside and the contract cities to administrate the fire department. Each fire station costs approximately 1.4 to 1.6 million per year to operate with the most of that being for salary and benefits.
Michelle Deskin October 03, 2012 at 09:46 PM
We should hire non County workers so that costs go down, not up. Administrative costs mean raises or better benefits, that's all. It would be different if the money were going to the firefighters!!!!!!!!! We should be cutting their salaries in these tough times, not raising them!!!!!! Shame on you for raising our taxes for nthing more than salaries & benefits when we are struggling to feed our families & buy gas to go to work!!! :-(:-(:-(


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