Three weeks ago we posed the question,
Today, the possibility seemed slightly more hopeful.
At the urging of Supervisor Bob Buster, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to hammer out a cost-sharing agreement between Lake Elsinore and the county in order to get the station open.
"The idea is to pattern this after similar agreements, such as the one we have with Menifee," Riverside County Fire Department Deputy Chief Steve Curley told City News Service. "We'll get on it right away and should have something put together in the next few weeks."
The goal, Curley said, is to open the station by July 2013 – something Lake Elsinore Mayor Brian Tisdale is also pushing very hard for.
Rosetta Canyon Fire Station was constructed two years ago, but ongoing budget challenges have kept the facility from opening.
Last month, in a 4-1 vote, Lake Elsinore City Council members approved the city’s five-year Capital Improvement Program that began July 1, but they stopped short of making a spending commitment on the Rosetta Canyon Fire Station until they can get a firm cost-sharing agreement from the county.
Station staffing is estimated to exceed $1.5 million annually, and an upfront expenditure of more than $1 million is needed for equipment that includes the possibility of a ladder truck.
The city is asking the county to share costs because the station would not only serve Lake Elsinore but also nearby unincorporated communities, including Lakeland Village and Temescal Valley. Resources at the facility could also be called upon by other cities and unincorporated areas during critical emergencies.
"The personnel at Rosetta Canyon could roll to calls outside the city, deploying for structure fires, heavy rescues and extrications," Curley said. "It would be our way of being able to meet all the needs in tough economic times."
Currently, when Lake Elsinore needs a ladder fire truck, it must call down to Temecula. Tisdale has urged that his city and surrounding areas shouldn’t have to wait the more than 20 minutes for the specialized equipment to arrive on scene.
In making their argument for county financial support, Lake Elsinore officials have often referenced nearby Canyon Lake. In April, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors approved a $257,000 subsidy to assist that city with its fire services contracted through Cal Fire.
Canyon Lake with its population of 11,000 residents had been struggling to cover its public safety expenditures. The county ultimately stepped in after the city's voters rejected a proposed per parcel tax to fund its then-current levels of law enforcement and fire protection services. --City News Service contributed to this report.