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CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 22

Meeting Date: May 27, 2008

Subject/Title: Informational Report on the process of detaching from East Contra Costa County Fire District and annexing into Contra Costa Fire Protection District to provide fire service to the City of Brentwood.

Prepared by: Paul Eldredge, Assistant Public Works Director/Assistant City Engineer

Submitted by: Donna Landeros, City Manager

RECOMMENDATION
1) Accept the Informational Report on the procedure for detaching the City of Brentwood from East Contra Costa Fire Protection District and annexing into Contra Costa Fire Protection District; and
2) Provide staff with direction.

PREVIOUS ACTIONS
On February 12, 2008, City Council Resolution 2008-31, consented to the creation of a new district governing board for the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (“Appointed Board”). The Appointed Board would have provided a governing board with representation for the Cities of Brentwood and Oakley, and the unincorporated area based on population. The Resolution also included a 60 day expiration in the event the County and City of Oakley did not also adopt the necessary resolutions to effectuate the changes.

On April 8, 2008, City Council Resolution No. 2008-84, extended the time limit for the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District to adopt their resolution amending the structure of its governing board. The deadline for the extension is May 27, 2008.

On May 13, 2008, Oakley City Council rescinded resolutions related to the creation of a new district governing board for the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District.

BACKGROUND
The County consolidated the fire districts of East Diablo, Oakley/Knightsen and Bethel Island and created the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (“ECCFPD”) in 2002. At that time the City raised concerns about the impact of the consolidation on the fire service levels in Brentwood. This concern continues to be a high priority for the Council and residents of Brentwood.

The County initiated a master plan process in 2005. The Master Plan was accepted, but not adopted, by the Board in June of 2007. The City advocated at that time that the Board of Supervisors adopt the Master Plan and begin implementation. Even though the County did not adopt the Master Plan, they did agree to move forward with one of the recommendations in the report which was to provide local governance.

In the fall of 2007 the County, Oakley and Brentwood agreed to pursue the Appointed Board and negotiations ensued over the size of the board and membership. Representation from Brentwood has not been an issue in these discussions, so the negotiations continued between the County and Oakley. At the present time there is no indication that the County and Oakley will resolve their differences, so the Appointed Board concept is not longer viable.
The Council has asked staff to research the procedural steps involved in detaching the City of Brentwood from ECCFPD and annexing to Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (“Con Fire”).

Organizational changes to special districts, including fire districts, are governed by State law and LAFCO oversees and ultimately approves the process.

Based upon a preliminary review of Fire Protection District Law and the applicable Government Codes as well as discussions with the LAFCO Executive Director the following is a summary of the steps necessary for detachment from the ECCFPD and annexation to Con Fire:

1. City Council approves a resolution authorizing submittal of a reorganization proposal to LAFCO
2. City submits application to LAFCO that contains:
a) City resolution (#1 above).
b) Fiscal analysis (see additional discussion below).
c) CEQA review (if applicable, see additional discussion below).
3. LAFCO Board Informational Report: The Fire District proposed to receive additional territory; Con Fire, is notified by LAFCO of the application and the City’s proposal. The County Board of Supervisors, in the role of the Con Fire Board, has 60 days to pass a termination resolution based on fiscal or service related concerns and forward the termination resolution to LAFCO should they object to the City’s proposal. Unless a legal action (Judicial Review filed by the City) is filed in court objecting to Con Fire’s termination resolution, LAFCO shall terminate the reorganization proceedings. Should the City prevail in the court action LAFCO may approve the reorganization.

If no termination resolution from Con Fire
4. LAFCO Public Hearing: At the reorganization public hearing, if even one protest is submitted by an affected party, (i.e. City, either Fire District and landowners or voters within City limits) LAFCO must hold a Protest Hearing. If no protests are submitted, the reorganization may be approved by LAFCO.

If protest submitted by affected party
5. LAFCO Protest Hearing:
a) If less than 25% of the registered voters in the City protest LAFCO may approve reorganization without any further process.
b) If 25% - 49% of the registered voters within the City protest, LAFCO would require an election.
c) If greater than 50% of the registered voters in the City protest the reorganization LAFCO terminates the process.

It should be noted that in a reorganization proposal affecting a large area or population, it is not unusual to receive a protest. In these situations where protest or discussion is expected, LAFCO would typically schedule the first hearing as a Protest Hearing instead of the Public Hearing, to minimize the number of meetings required in the interest of time.

Should Council choose to pursue this reorganization option, staff can return with further analysis including:
 Fiscal impacts to (a) ECCFPD resulting from detachment of City of Brentwood, (b) Con Fire by annexation of additional service territory (c) City; is tax revenue from City sufficient or would additional funds be necessary to provide service?
 Tax structure changes between the districts resulting from reorganization
 Staffing levels that could be provided by ConFire to Brentwood service area and consistency with the level of service in other Con Fire territory.
 Judicial review of termination resolution, if filed by Con Fire as District receiving additional territory. What action may be taken by the City objecting to a termination resolution, if filed?
 Extent of CEQA review that may be necessary.
 
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