Loma Rica /

   Browns Valley

        Fire Department

LOMA RICA STATION #61

11485 LOMA RICA ROAD

BROWNS VALLEY STATION #62

9471 BROWNS VALLEY SCHOOL RD.

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About Loma Rica/Browns Valley Community Services District

 

The Loma Rica/Browns Valley Community Services District (District) is responsible for providing fire protection, first responder medical aid, and rescue assistance to the communities of Loma Rica and Browns Valley. Currently the Loma Rica/Browns Valley Fire Department has a staff of seven volunteers and is augmented by firefighters from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Together, they provide 24 hour, 7 day a week coverage.

 

The District has two stations, station 61, located on Loma Rica Road, and station 62, located on Browns Valley School Road. Station 61 is a bi-agency facility, shared between the District and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF). Through the Amador contract, station 61 is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. In addition to the CDF attack engine, station 61 houses the District attack engine and one structure engine. Station 62 is not currently staffed and is used to house the District water tender and one structure engine.

 

The History of the District

 

The County of Yuba does not provide fire service to its residents. All fire departments within the county are independent entities and, except for those agencies in existence prior to the passage of Proposition 13 in the late 1970's, must be funded by a direct assessment imposed on the residents residing within each independent district

 

CDF has maintained a seasonal fire station in Loma Rica for many years. Into the 1980's, this station was only open during the state's wild land fire season, typically running from late May or early June to late September or early October. Within the community, a small group of volunteers, using antiquated equipment (which they parked at their homes), were the sole providers of fire suppression and medical aid services for those months CDF was absent and for any incidents to which CDF was unable to respond or needed assistance. Funding was provided by charitable contributions, bake sales, etc.

 

1984: Believing that the area needed a higher level of service, a group of local residents began the work of forming an independent fire district and in 1985 a ballot measure was placed before the voters of the Loma Rica and Browns Valley communities. The proposal was successful and resulted in the formation of the Loma Rica / Browns Valley Community Services District. The vote mandated that the District provide fire, rescue, and medical aid services, established a governing board of 5 members, each elected to 4 year terms, and created a funding assessment of 3 cents per square foot for all residential and commercial structures with a maximum annual assessment of $40 per assessed structure.

 

1991: It became apparent that increasing population and emergency calls coupled with a declining volunteer force posed a formidable challenge to the District's ability to provide necessary services. After several months of public meetings, the District chose to pursue and enter into a contract (generally referred to as an Amador contract and limited in availability) with CDF to keep the Loma Rica station open and staffed for the entire year. The original contract cost was approximately $28,000. In order to fund the contract, the annual assessment maximum was increased to $80 per assessed structure.

 

1997: Following passage of Proposition 218 (November 1996) which requires all property assessments to be approved by a 2/3 vote of the electorate, the District directors determined that the voters within the community should have the opportunity to confirm or reject the 1991 board action raising the maximum annual assessment from $40 to $80. The increase was confirmed.

 

1999: The District enters into a bi-agency co-operative agreement with CDF to construct the current Loma Rica station and operate as a two-agency facility.

 

2000: Faced with continually rising operating costs coupled with no change to the original 3-cent assessment for 15 years, the District places before the voters a proposal to include an annual cost of living adjustment. The cost of living adjustment is to be based on the lower of two indexes - Consumer Price Index or the Cost Index used by Social Security. It was estimated that the average residence would see an annual increase of $3.65 to $3.85. The proposal was overwhelmingly defeated.

 

2004: Struggling with inadequate revenue to continue funding the Amador contract, the District holds several town hall meetings to discuss options and determine community wishes concerning revenue increases. Based on the input provided at these meetings as well as continuing revenue requirements, the District places before voters a proposal, Measure B, to raise the square foot assessment from 3 cents to 6 cents and raise the annual maximum structure assessment from $80 to $200. The proposal fails to garner the required 2/3 majority.

 

2005: District mails an informational letter to all residents outlining the consequences dictated by the failure of Measure B and schedules a final town hall meeting to answer questions and gauge community sentiment. The town hall meeting results in formation of the Loma Rica / Browns Valley Citizens Committee and scheduling of a special election for August to resubmit the November 2004 proposal to the voters in the form of Measure F.

 

Measure F passes with a 86.4% majority and beginning with the 2005 / 2006 tax year, sets the annual assessment rate at 6 cents per square foot and the annual maximum assessment at $200 per assessed structure

 

2006: A search begins to find an appropriate parcel of land in the north east portion of the District for future construction of a third fire station.

 

2007: District successfully completes the purchase of a 5 acre parcel located at 6729 Marysville Road, Browns Valley and obtains a Conditional User Permit from Yuba County allowing for the construction and operation of a third fire station.  The projected construction is planned to occur over the course of several years, finances permitting, and is scheduled as three phases. 

 

Phase 1: Construction of a 3 bay engine garage and utility area (utility room, showers, restroom, and small office)

Phase 2: Training facility and driver training course

Phase 3: Possible construction of living barracks - completely contingent on future District growth coupled with the desire and willingness of District residents to move from a volunteer department to a combination paid / volunteer department or a fully paid department.

 

2008:  District completes analysis of funding requirements for the first phase of Station #63 construction.and budgets a total of $700,000 for the project..

 

2009:: Board of Directors determines that given the complexity of design and construction required by State and County regulations,for the building of Station #63, a professional archetectural firm experienced in "essential facility" projects should be consulted.  Accordingly, a Request For Proposal (RFP) was published in local and Sacramento papers.  Six proposals were received and each firm was interviewed by the Board.  GRA Architecture of Sacramento was selected.

 

2010:  Preliminary site plan, well siting, septic system design, and building plans are completed and submitted to the County.  The Conditional Use Permit is amended to reflect completed plans.

 

2011:  Bids for road and site excavation, septic system installation, well installation, and building construction are solicited.  The total of the lowest bids received for each area of construction amount to almost $1,000,000.  The Board votes to re-work the various plans and rebid.  The resultant bids continue to be much higher than originally budgeted..  The Board votes to temporarily halt the project and review at a later date..  The services of GRA Archiitecture are suspended.

 

2014:  The Board of Directors reconsiders the construction of Station #63 and meets with the County to determine current requirements.  The County indicates that the District's Conditional Use Permit is eligible for re-opening should the District wish to build Station #63.  It is also noted that the buidling requirements both at the State and County levels have increased dramatically along with the associted costs.

 

2015:   After several months of investigation, the Board of Directors concludes that construction of Station #63 would be in the best interests of the District's residents, particularly those residing within the North East section of the District.  The decision is made to attempt to move forward beginning in 2016.

 

2016:   The original plans from 2010 are retrieved from the project architect and  repurposed to meet all current State and County health, safety, and building codes.  Several new requirements dictate new engineering and structural plans, updated specifications, and many amendments to the 2010 documents.  At the close of 2016, the County had reviewed all the plans, including water, septic, roads, drainage, and structural and was awaiting follow up information from the project architect.  The Board's goal is to have the project out to bid in early 2017.. 

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