Fire Authority Ends $2.9 Million Santa Ana Deposit

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Santa Ana will have an extra $2.9 million available to the city because the Orange County Fire Authority unanimously agreed Thursday to eliminate a security escrow account for emergency services.

The Fire Authority’s board voted to cease requiring the escrow account because staff determined the city’s finances had improved sufficiently.

Two years ago when Santa Ana was facing a $30 million budget shortfall, the city melded its Fire Department into the Fire Authority to cut costs.

But to ensure the Fire Authority would receive payment for services, the $2.9 million escrow account [equal to a month’s emergency service costs] was established, with the city also required to pay for services in advance.

Santa Ana was the only one of the Fire Authority’s 23 partner cities required to pay in advance, a report says.

In the current year operating budget, a Santa Ana report projects $202 million in revenue with $189 million in expenses.

Rex Dalton is a San Diego-based journalist who has worked for the San Diego Union-Tribune and the journal Nature. You can reach him directly at rexdalton@aol.com.

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