Time for participation is now!
The issue of consolidating fire departments in the county has been percolating for many years. New, larger districts have already been created in some parts of Sonoma County, and now there is serious discussion about creating a new regional fire district here in Sonoma Valley (our area is designated by the county as Region 3).
The separate fire entities in our area are deciding whether to participate, as a deadline is coming up for filing an application to create a bigger, new district. The process is complicated, there lots of moving parts (see our story on page 1), and enough confusing jargon to make your head spin. What’s a LAFCO? What’s a Sphere of Influence?
We bring this up right now because there is an important community meeting on Dec. 3, 6:30 p.m. at the Kenwood firehouse, and we encourage as much public participation as possible.
There you will learn about the pros and cons of the Kenwood Fire Protection District joining in (or not) on this consolidation effort. On Dec. 10, 4 p.m., the five-member Kenwood Fire District board of directors is scheduled to make a decision at its regular board meeting. All board meetings are public, by the way.
This is an important choice, as Kenwood Fire, in it’s various iterations, has a well over 100-year history. A formal, independent district was created in 1946, making the KFD a critical, long-time institution for this unincorporated town.
Is it the end of local control? Is it a path to a more sustainable and effective level of fire service? What taxes will we pay? How will the money collected by one bigger district be allocated? Will a larger district create efficiencies or not? What would be the name of the new district? How will a new board be created and what will its representation be?
Come to the meeting(s), listen and learn, and give your input. Whether you’re in favor or against, or somewhere in between, now’s the time to give your opinion, ask questions, and get answers. Be informed.
Speaking of public participation, we encourage everyone to do some extra holiday shopping and eating out at local businesses. PG&E’s power shutoffs took a big financial toll on business owners and employees – lost sales, lost wages, spoiled food, cancelled events, lots of unexpected extra expenses, etc. It’s a real emotional and financial beat down that can’t be overstated.
So stay in the community. Bring your family to a local eatery, buy your stocking stuffers at nearby stores, enjoy the deals at local wineries, do your grocery shopping in Glen Ellen, Kenwood and Oakmont. Your efforts will help our northern Sonoma Valley economy, and maybe Santa will bring you an extra gift as a reward!
– Alec and Ann