The way Tuolumne County provides fire protection services is not sustainable without changes that could prove to be controversial, according to a new independent study that will be discussed at a public meeting on Tuesday.
There was a shortfall of more than $1.5 million in the county’s overall fire protection system in 2017 that was expected to grow to more than $2 million by 2022, the study determined.
At the same time, the study found that close to one-third of the county’s fleet of fire engines and water tenders were more than 25 years old and needed to be replaced within the next three to five years at a total cost of between $5.4 million and $7.5 million.
The county Board of Supervisors will hold a special meeting at 2 p.m. on Tuesday to discuss the study, which was developed over the course of more than two years by a consulting firm based in San Francisco with input from county officials and fire chiefs.
“Our current model isn’t working,” said Deputy County Administrator Maureen Frank, who oversaw the team that provided input on the study. “This is a serious issue, and we just need to have some conversations moving forward.”