Costa Mesa Might Dismantle Fire Department

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Costa Mesa officials Friday announced that the city might dismantle its fire department and contract out for fire protection.

Officials released the broad details of a proposal from the Orange County Fire Authority — a joint powers authority providing fire services to various cities primarily in South County — that would offer fire services to the city for between $16 million and $18 million annually.

Costa Mesa’s current fiscal year budget estimates spending just over $19 million on its fire department, said interim Assistant City Manger Terry Matz.

Like so many city’s, Costa Mesa is facing a severe budget deficit. Earlier this week, council members voted 4-1 to cut several police positions as well as a helicopter patrol.

Councilwoman Wendy Leece voted against the cuts arguing city officials should keep analyzing the budget.

Matz — who recently took over after the retirement of longtime City Manager Alan Roeder — said the proposal would be analyzed before any decisions are made. An open forum is scheduled at Costa Mesa City Hall on March 8 at 4:30 p.m. to discuss the proposal.

“It’s premature to draw conclusions,” Matz said adding, “No judgments have been made.”

Matz added that the OCFA contract would soon be placed on the city’s website for residents to review.

Correction: A previous version of this story misidentified interim Assitant City Manager Terry Matz



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