LAFAYETTE -- A bid by the Moraga-Orinda Fire District to buy property in Lafayette for a new fire station to be shared with the Contra Costa Fire District will be discussed at a meeting Monday in Orinda.

Still to be decided is a plan for both districts to enter into a purchase, building and staffing agreement.

Randy Bradley, MOFD fire chief, confirmed this week that the district has bid on a parcel, but he said directors have until March 28 to decide whether they actually want to purchase it. The 2.33-acre parcel includes a house and is listed for $1.2 million.

The MOFD board last month authorized Bradley to enter negotiations for a purchase option on land near Highway 24. It is one of four properties being considered as the possible site of a new fire station to replace the shuttered Los Arabis Drive station in Lafayette. ConFire took that facility offline in June after rat and mold infestations and officially shut it down in January because of budget cuts.

The new station would also replace a fire station on Via Las Cruces in Orinda, whose reconstruction MOFD placed on hold in January. The district had hoped to rehabilitate that station to address accessibility compliance issues and other concerns.

Officials have looked at consolidating the stations in the past due to their proximity, but ConFire never agreed to a merger. They are now discussing selling both properties and using the proceeds to finance the new station if an agreement is reached. Fire officials estimate land purchase and facility construction at $5 million to $6 million but say the joint station could save taxpayers $1 million annually in each district, and much more if a 30-year agreement is reached.

Bradley said his district did not put any "hard money" down in the offer. According to fire district data, the option includes conditions such as a $15,000 deposit that will become nonrefundable after March 28 and the ability to assign the property to another public agency such as ConFire.

In February, Bradley told county supervisors, who act as ConFire's board, that MOFD would like to own and operate the new station. After a debate, the supervisors authorized ConFire Chief Daryl Louder to start informal talks with MOFD about a possible station merger. The districts did not enter into an agreement to share capital and operating costs at that meeting.

"We have taken no formal action other than authorized (Louder) to talk informally," said Supervisor Candace Andersen, who oversees Lamorinda and has indicated support for the idea.

The bid is not sitting well with some residents living near the property. Ruth Helsel, an Orinda resident whose home abuts the site, wants more opportunity for public input.

"It's moving fast without having a public forum for concerned citizens in Orinda to address the longer response times such a move would generate," Helsel said. "It's also unclear where the Contra Costa Fire District would be able to generate the capital funding and ongoing operating revenue to be a good partner for the Moraga-Orinda Fire District."

The city of Lafayette -- which is not participating in the property negotiations -- is holding a study session March 18, where the planning commissioners will consider the new station plans as well as zoning and preliminary architectural plans. That session will only happen if county supervisors and the MOFD board approve entering into a joint agreement to build and operate the new fire station.

The MOFD Board of Directors will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at Orinda City Hall. County supervisors will meet at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in Martinez.