Annexation of City of Ukiah Into Fire District Approved, Providing Sustainable Funding for Local Fire Service

The following is a press release issued by the City of Ukiah:

Ukiah Valley Fire Authority on scene of the Gap Fire earlier this season [Picture taken by Matt LaFever]

Mendocino Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCo) has concluded its evaluation and approved the proposed annexation of the City of Ukiah into the Ukiah Valley Fire Protection District.  The annexation helps establish a fair and equitable funding resource for fire and emergency response services for all Ukiah Valley residents and helps ensure fiscal stability of fire and emergency medical response services for the long-term benefit of Ukiah Valley residents served by the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority.

With this approval, the annexation will provide for the fair application of the Fire District’s special funding measures to all residents in the Ukiah Valley.   As such, the Fire Authority will be able to pursue more appropriate staffing levels and to purchase modern equipment that is needed to be best prepared for emergency response.

This is an important step forward for the region that will allow the Fire Authority to be better prepared to meet growing demands for fire and emergency response services. Due to the effects of climate change, more intense fire risks, and increasingly costly regulatory mandates, the demands on the Fire Authority have escalated faster than the growth in resources.

“Providing quality fire and emergency medical services should be a top priority for every community, and I am pleased that our region is taking the right steps to modernize our governance structures in a way that improves efficiency and ensures appropriate resources are dedicated to these life-saving services,” stated Fire Chief Doug Hutchison.

The current and ongoing governance of the merged fire operations of the City of Ukiah and the Ukiah Valley Fire District is controlled by a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) that includes equal representation with two City Council members and two District Board members serving on the Fire Executive Committee.  Not only is the City and District equally represented on the Fire Executive Committee, each governing body (City Council and District Board) has equally governance/authority within and over the JPA.  With the annexation, the JPA remains in place. Further, the annexed area will now be incorporated into the District and any citizen within those boundaries can run for office. 

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