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City Of Marysville Takes Over Fire Ops From Cal Fire

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

Firefighters put out a garage fire in Marysville in January of this year. Nine-of-ten firefighters are still with Cal Fire, but are no longer serving Marysville. Replacements were hired mostly from neighboring fire districts by the city.

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

After almost 20 years of contracting with Cal Fire, the City of Marysville is going to save money by running its own fire department.

Cities and counties have contracted with Cal Fire if there was a staffing and financial benefit to both parties.

The City of Marysville has realized it can save about a $250,000 if it takes over its own fire service.

"Financially, it's less expensive to run our own department," says Walter Muncheimer, Marysville's city manager. "The Cal Fire salary structure and benefit structure is a good bit more generous than our local salaries are."

Cal Fire told Marysville 18 months ago it would not renew its contract if the city couldn't guarantee funding for a four-person crew. Marysville has been funding the fourth person with a grant every two years.

Staffing levels for all Marysville city services are still three-quarters of what they were ten years ago. Last year, an advisory measure on the use of revenues from a sales tax increase for fire, police, parks and debt service passed by a three to one margin.

But, the measure to actually increase the sales tax by 1 percent failed.

The city plans to put the sales tax measure before voters again next year.