The Tuolumne County Supervisors altered a 27-year-old contract with the Mi Wuk Sugar Pine Fire District.
As part of the change, the District’s station would technically no longer be considered a county volunteer station, but they will be afforded many of the same privileges. It was noted that the volunteer program has seen a notable decline over recent years. The health of the department is important to the county, as it sits at the end of a densely developed area along the Highway 108 corridor.
County staff and District officials have been working for an extended period to revise the agreement, so that it is beneficial to both parties involved. One of the people that spoke in favor was Larry Crabtree, Interim Chief of the MWSPFD. “It does address some serious concerns of both the county fire department, and my fire district, mostly because of the age of the past agreement,” said Crabtree. “With this new agreement, we are looking forward to a long and beneficial relationship with the county fire department. While we have a lot of work to do, this agreement is one giant first step. The next major effort will be working with the county fire department to try and reestablish a vibrant and active volunteer cadre at our fire station at Mi Wuk Sugar Pine.”
The agreement calls for both parties to continue to respond to calls within each other’s areas, the county will provide dispatch services at no cost to the district, the county will lease an engine for $1 a year, and provide regular maintenance.
Some county fire volunteers voiced concerns to the board about leasing a newer engine to the district, basically for free, when other county fire apparatus could use replacing.
The agreement was approved with a 5-0 vote.