OAKDALE, Calif — The City of Oakdale has less than two months to find a new fire protection service, after deciding to cut ties with the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District.
The 'Cowboy Capitol of the World' could not find common ground with the fire protection district that they've partnered with for the past five years. The end of their contract is set for June 30, 2019.
"It's heartbreaking [and] disappointing that both sides or all sides couldn't come together and have an agreement," Capt. Buck Condit, a spokesman for the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District said.
City Manager Bryan Whitemyer said they couldn't agree on things like the number of years of service, whether or not the fire chief should have to sit in on city council meetings, and the cost per firefighter.
"For one spot or three shifts, it would cost between $350,000 and $400,000 for those firefighters," Whitemyer said. "Under the current agreement, it would be between $550,000 and $600,000, so that made it cost prohibitive for us to move forward."
Whitemyser says the city now has less than two months to find a new fire protection service.
"We've been exploring all options, whether to restart an Oakdale Fire Department, to restart or to start a joint agency with Oakdale Fire Protection District, or to find another partner agency to have a unified fire service for a greater area," he said.
This will impact two different fire stations in Oakdale. They have a total of at least five employees working in the city at all times. Stanislaus Consolidated said they made an agreement with the city to save those jobs.
"They have agreed to take care of the firefighters that potentially could get laid off and take those firefighters in to work for their agency or however they deem necessary," Condit said.
Whitemyer says he's hoping to come to make a deal with an agency from neighboring cities within the next two weeks, and he says response times will not be impacted.
"Our hope is to partner with other agencies so we can best serve the residents of Oakdale," he said.