A potentially disruptive split has been averted: Irvine will not leave the Orange County Fire Authority, now that both have agreed to a $50 million deal to give the city what officials consider a fairer share of the public safety agency’s resources.
Irvine gave notice last year that in 2020 it might leave the authority, which serves 1.8 million people in 23 cities and unincorporated parts of the county. City leaders were frustrated by a funding formula that sees Irvine taxpayers contributing about 20 percent of the agency’s roughly $390 million annual budget.
In order to stay, Irvine wanted a joint police and fire training center, stepped-up fire service in the city and a faster pay-down of pension liability for OCFA employees. The agreement – approved by the Irvine City Council on Tuesday, April 9, and by OCFA’s board March 28 – does those things and several others. Irvine’s financial contribution to the agency, based on property taxes, remains the same.