A few excerpts from the Orinda Emergency Services Task Force's "Report to the Community on the State of Emergency Services:"

  • "The Task Force concludes that MOFD has significant financial problems. It is not going

    bankrupt, and because Orinda and Moraga are currently served by four times the firefighters per

    capita as the rest of the county, MOFD will be able to weather the storm without service cuts, but

    only if appropriate action is taken."

  • While the District professes the desire and need for public involvement, the Task Force notes

    that the District currently does not have, and to the best of its knowledge never has had, a standing

    or long-term committee that includes citizen participants. It has had ad hoc citizen committees (for

    reviewing the credentials of Chief and Director candidates, for example), but even those have been

    very structured with limited influence.

    The Task Force believes that the District would be well served by receiving more citizen

    involvement in the form of standing or report-oriented committees focusing on a number of issues

    confronting the district, including, but not limited to:

    * Finances

    * Water supply to hydrants, especially in Orinda

    * Fuel supply reduction in Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones

    * Residential fire sprinkler systems - expanding to existing structures

  • There is an inequity in MOFD funding (favoring Moraga). It is too large to ignore or assume it will fix itself -- in fact, projections indicate it is going to continue to grow. Orinda voters have

    shown previously they are capable of "detaching" from their emergency services provider

    due to just such a funding issue. Unless MOFD, Orinda and Moraga officials are willing to

    risk MOFD's dissolution, they need to come to the table, in open session, and honestly

    discuss this problem among themselves and the community at large, using facts, not

    assumptions. As long as the District is "homogeneously" staffed by firefighters, the Task

    Force believes the cost-sharing should be based on the number of firefighters stationed in,

    and serving, each community

  • Sixty-four percent of the property taxes are paid by Orinda property owners and 36 percent are paid by Moraga property owners (Table IV-2). Including a parcel tax, 24 percent of Orinda's property tax goes to MOFD, while 21 percent of Moraga's is so directed. This compares to 14 percent for Lafayette, 16 percent for Danville and 13 percent for Walnut Creek with 12-13 percent being the average for the entire county.

  • If MOFD is going to deal with its retirement benefit obligations, it is going to have to make major

    revisions to its personnel costs, which will include reduced salaries and benefits and revised operational methods. While having five three-person engines may be required or optimal for a structure fire, alternatives must be explored. More two person response units to more rapidly respond to medical emergencies and techniques like expanded use of home sprinkler systems to allow more time for responding to residential structure fires must be evaluated. California legislation has just been proposed to reduce pension expenses but none of it addresses the $700 million in liabilities already vested against MOFD's future revenues. Current and ongoing expenses must be drastically reduced to allow for funding these future liabilities.