Officials overseeing the Rincon Valley Fire Protection District voted Tuesday to ask Santa Rosa to consider taking over Rincon Valley’s firefighting services. The unanimous vote to support the proposal by Rincon Valley firefighters stalls a rival proposal by board members to consolidate the Rincon Valley and Windsor fire districts.
Central Fire Chief Doug Williams, who oversees both Rincon Valley and Windsor firefighters, said he will write a letter to Santa Rosa fire officials “for a determination of what may or may not work.” “It’s a preliminary step in what could be a long process,” Williams said. Santa Rosa Mayor Scott Bartley said he welcomed the request but cautioned that the city, which currently lacks a chief financial officer, doesn’t have the staff to quickly analyze such a proposal. “It’s just not even on our radar right now,” Bartley said Tuesday night. The cost is one of the major issues that Santa Rosa and Rincon Valley would have to negotiate before a contract between the two agencies is signed. “With a contract, they’d get most of our budget, 99 percent of it,” said Darrel Mead, a Rincon Valley board member who favors an agreement with Santa Rosa. “That’s nearly $5 million for work they’re already doing,” Mead said, referring to the extensive firefighting services Santa Rosa provides to much of Rincon Valley’s 125-square-mile jurisdiction.