Supporting Measure “S” Actually Saves You Money!

I am getting pretty annoyed at these so called Associations and “experts” who claim they are looking out for the taxpayer. The reality is by listening to these people they will cost you at the very least, $8,000 over a period of 10 years.  Voting Yes on Measure “S” actually saves you money.

No one likes a tax increase, I sure don’t, however, the reality is you are going to pay one way or the other as it’s just a matter of how much and to who you will be paying—ECCFPD or Insurance Companies!

It blows my mind that some just do not get it.  They want to encourage others to vote “no” simply to punish the Fire District to teach them a lesson— this reducing services and increasing insurance rates. You actually end up paying a lot more on your insurance while receiving less service.

Speaking of insurance rates, this whole idea that those who complain about scare tactics by using the threat of insurance companies increasing rates is silly. Using logic, does one really expect insurance rates to stay the same when emergency response services are cut in half? When these services are reduced and a 3-station model is implemented, these companies get to increase rates and make a lot more money! Measure “S” failure benefits the insurance companies more than anyone else—it punishes the homeowner.

Don’t believe me; just ask those on Morgan Territory Road who should be the poster child for this debate. Look into the real-life experience (or hell as they might call it) when ECCFPD had to shut down the Sunshine Station and they were greeted with insurance premium increases of $1,500 to $4,000.

Keep in mind that is still with 5-other stations in the ECCFD still open as “backup”. Now imagine the fees when a 3-station model is implemented. Insurance companies get to cash in even more!

Using the chart below, let’s just take whatever your current insurance premium is today and conservatively increase it by just $1,000 (rather than the $1,500-$4,000 increase Morgan Territory road had) which does not include any annual increase. Over a period of 10 years you are paying $10,000 more than you would have to. Also remove from the equation if your ISO rating jumps to 10+ where your mortgage is immediately due with no questions asked because you now own a home that is uninsurable due to lack of fire coverage.

  • Fire Tax = annual cost should the Board increase it by the maximum each year
  • Insurance Cost = take your annual rate and add $1,000.
    Note, this could be as high as $4,000 more depending on where you live within the District
  • Net savings – by supporting Measure “S”, annual savings ($1,000 – fire tax)
Year Fire Tax Insurance Costs Net Savings



Current rate + $1,000




2012 rate + $1,000




2013 rate + $1,000




2014 rate + $1,000




2015 rate + $1,000




2016 rate + $1,000




2017 rate + $1,000




2018 rate + $1,000




2019 rate + $1,000




2020 rate + $1,000




Annual Rate + $10,000


Broken down, over a ten year period one could spend $2,258 to support ECCFPD or you can spend an extra $10,000 (at the very least) to your insurance company. By supporting Measure S, you can expect to save at the very least $7,741.85.

This is a no brainer from an economic standpoint when one removes all the emotions out of the argument. Measure S will save you money in the long run while your emergency service actually increase.

If you ask me, anyone arguing against Measure S does not have your best interest at heart.


About burkforoakley

I call it like I see it . I love my city, I love my community and I want what is best for the people around me. Do the right thing, I will support you. Do the wrong thing, I will oppose you!
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16 Responses to Supporting Measure “S” Actually Saves You Money!

  1. East county medic says:

    You seem not to truly understand the vast impact this will have on the people of east county . Nobody can denie the facts that ECCFPD is in need of help but this measure S is not the answer for several reasons . The first and foremost reason is a struggling BLS ( basic life support ) Fire department should not be looking to upgrade to a ALS ( advance life support ) fire department as the answer to there problems. The citizens of east county are provided ALS services that are well supiror to other parts of contra costa county at let t me remind you no cost to them. AMR provides a first responder paramedic who works independent to the fire engine and responds to medical emergencies . There is a total of 3 of these QRV paramedics in ECCFPD zone. There is also one independent paramedic station located between Oakley and Brentwood along with several ALS amnbulances the are moble on the road posted in Brentwood and Oakley . Let me remind you this is all free of cost to the citizens of ECCFD’s distric . The majority of the measure S money will be spent to hire Paramedics to work for the fire department , buy ALS equipment , and hire all the support staff it takes to run a ALS program a program that is already provided free of cost by Amircan Medical Response . This is all being attempted in a day in age when most fire departments are cutting ALS programs due to the cost .
    An other issue is in this measure S their is no talk of opening the stations that were closed with the last budget down fall . If I’m going to spend money on a tax every year I would like the closed stations brought on line agin to provide more fire protection service , after all isn’t that what fire engines do provide fire protection ?
    If this measure is voted in this is going to displace a large number of paramedics that work for American Mediacl Response causing them to lay off several paramedics , this will in turn decrease the staff of American Medical Response causing there to be less ALS ambulances on the street county wide not just the citizens of ECCFD distric . Last time I checked Fire engines don’t transport people to the hospital .
    I write this with the upmost respect to the hard working men and women of ECCFD for what they do . I work side by side with them daily and live in ECCFD distric . It saddens me to think this is their answer to the budget problem that plages them .

    • East County Medic…no matter how “great” ALS ambulance services are, they still arrive 5-10 minutes behind fire engines on scene. That is reality, those 5-10 minutes are valuable time wasted (no to any fault of the ambulance company) that paramedics on rigs could get to work and save lives for the ambulance companies to then transport to a hospital.

      You claim a majority of the money will be spent to put paramedics on rigs–please do fill me in on this number and what you consider the majority to be? And by the way, nothing is free as you claim these services are… I suggest you follow the money because it does come at a cost to the tax payer.

      • East county medic says:

        5-10 minutes behind the engines so untrue it’s kind of funny. In most cases the ambulance and engine show up with in minutes of each other and the times the ambulance beats the engine they cancel the engine . I would would day from my experience the ambulance or QRV beats the engine close to 70% of the time.

    • Bob says:

      This is dishonest discussion. Mike was talking about ambulances, then you talk about QRVs as if they are interchangeable. They are not.

      For my area and per the contract, ambulance allowed response time is 16 minutes. Per AMR’s own reporting the average response time district wide for QRVs is slower than the engines. So either they are lying in their official reporting or you are mistaken. For the record, I don’t believe AMR is lying or falsifying those reports. They are meeting the contract requirements with their response times.

      I’ve witnessed engines beating the QRV to calls many times and in my neighborhood they are housed in the same station.

      You didn’t address his focal point question; what amount of the proposed assessment do you insist is going to ALS which qualifies it as a “majority” of the funds. Those were your words.

      It would be in your best interest to read the available documents as you clearly don’t have the facts.

  2. Tom LoCoco Oakley Citizen says:

    Dear East County Medic,
    while i respect your opinion and your entitled to it, i feel your off-base on some key issues. I am curious if you have attended any of the fireboard meetings or town hall meetings? During these meetings it goes into great detail on how this tax is going to be spent. A very very small portion of this tax is going towards ALS (i could be wrong on the figure but i believe about 5 or so percent of the $197) The majority is going to go towards keeping 24 firefighters from being laid off. TWENTY FOUR FIREFIGHTERS. Some more of it is to go to putting more firefighters on engines so that all engines have 3 crew members. During the meetings the Chief also laid out a timeline for reopening closed fire stations, funds to reopen and staff them with 3 person engine companies are also provided by this tax. Another large chunk of the tax is for equipment, facilities, and replenish the empty reserve fund. Without it the district has no ways of reparing or replacing aging equipment or buildings. The ALS component of this tax is such a small part of what is a HUGE improvement of services and capabilities. The goal of this tax is not to maintain the inadequate status quo, but to deliver a higher level of service. I have spoken to many folks in AMR and no one has been able to give me an answer if the QRV’s were going to go away…If they even go away at all for the timeline for instating ALS to all stations could take up to 6 years. Am I sympathetic for the medics that could potentially lose their cushy bid spot…yeah a little, but they would still have jobs and be the highest paid AMR medics in the county. So then the potentially 9 medics are displaced (still not sure if it would even happen…who knows if AMR will even be here 2014) which will bump the lowest seniority Medics, who make up the army of AMR part timers and do not depend on that job as their primary income. If im off base with that statement sorry, but thats the best I could conclude from talking to AMR folks. There is no perfect option but, passing the tax easily the lesser of two evils. pass the tax gain alot…dont pass the tax lose even more. my $.02

  3. Bob says:

    East County Medic, with all due respect, I would hope a person in your position to be more in tune with the facts. Tom, as a citizen, has a much better grasp just based on the postings here. You may, in fact, understand it better than we are led to believe. But your post is not showing it.

    AMR’s contract is through 2014. There is nothing to guarantee their Paramedic jobs beyond that. In fact, if we look next door in Alameda Co we see they were uprooted and a new vendor brought in.

    As Tom notes, only a small portion of this assessment is for adding ALS. It also rolls out over 5 years. The startup cost per station is estimated at $100k. That’s a one time cost. After that it is much lower. For that incremental addition in cost, people served get better response times(statistical fact) and more available Paramedics in absolute numbers. It also puts us more inline with what is the national standard and that is engine based Paramedics. At the end of the 5 year rollout, we will have 7 available Paramedics, plus those that still staff the transport ambulances(required by contract). So it is an opportunity to significantly INCREASE Paramedic staffing, not reduce it as you claim. The difference is a public agency providing the bulk of personnel. Those personnel, should you need their service, will provide it at no additional costs above the assessment. That’s not the case from AMR.

    Let’s not forget, the ALS addition is just training that third person on the engine as a Paramedic. They are still a fire fighter as well. It’s not one or the other here.

    Transport is a red herring issue here. Transport is not on the table. Transport is not changing no matter what. AMR or whatever vendor is providing it beyond 2014 will still bill the people they serve and will still profit from the exercise. You can be confident of that.

    I’ve never understood this silly idea originally floated by the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association that stopping engine response to medicals somehow saves money. One of the silliest, illogical statements I’ve read in this discussion. Engines based at the station are like insurance. You are paying for them whether they are being exercised or not. Short of fuel costs I’m at a complete loss to understand how they decided that could save money. It sounds like a social engineering exercise that is flawed in its logic and quite probably very dangerous to the public.

    Take it a little further; they want you to believe that AMR can handle it. Really? So you dispatch AMR only to a head-on on Vasco. They get on scene and discover an extraction is necessary. Now they have to call the fire department to come out, adding massively to the total response times. That’s a recipe for disaster and will cost lives. Who dreamed up such a ridiculous and deadly deployment strategy over at CCTA?

    East County Medic, how many calls have you gone on where the patient was on a 2nd or 3rd story in tight quarters. How many of you manned the gurney to get it to the ground floor? I’m guessing it took much more than the 2 people staffing the AMR transport vehicle.

    The bottom line is this protective dialog for AMR is both misinformed and misguided. It will cost property and lives. Common sense should tell people this.

    But a question I’m dying to have answered and I can only ask the people chiming in here. East County Medic, what is your alternative solution to this $197 assessment? This is primarily to keep stations open, not to “buy” ALS service. So if it fails, why do you think 3 stations will be a viable fire district to protect a 250 sq mile district?

  4. East county medic says:

    Tom in response to your statement , Yes I’ve been to several of the fie board meeting . The key fact that I have gathered is yes the department is in trouble and yes it puts the citizens in risk , but it think your fire boards projected cost of starting , running and maintaing a ALS fire program is far off base I I would like know where these numbers where came from . I hope this was not based off surrounding departments who are struggling as the same as ECCFD and who are also seeking to add a tax measure and disband their ALS program to ” SAVE ” money not to generate money . A ALS service is very costly with hireling of paramedics ,they don’t come cheep with on advrage a 10% hire cost than a BLS firefighter , this is an incense in retirement and overall staff cost on a daily basis . Their is also a large cost of continuing education cost , the cost of these required bi annual class are well over $300 per class and this county requires 4 of these classes every 2 years . The money keeps adding up fast and from what ive head none of this has been addressed .
    Your chief did address the station closers but I have not found anything in writing addressing this . Your Chife and overhead staff can say what they want but in order for this to become a reality it needs to be but in to the paragraphs of the tax measure .
    As for the loss of the QRV’s they are not required by contract , what is required is AMR is to provide a dollar value for these services to the fire department , AMR has always provided these as good gesture to ECCFD due to their inability to staff run or maintain a ALS fire program . I do believe this dollar amount is close to 750K per QRV , and on top of the 750K per QRV they also pay for crews and equipment . If I know AMR and being a former medic for them , as soon as this Tax is passed if it does pass AMR will pull the QRV’s provide the department with the dollar amount and say they no longer need to provide this service because of ECCFD ALS program .this leaves a 6 year gap of paramedic services in these areas headed upon your timeline . They will also drop all ambulances to 1:1 staffing once again decreasing the number of paramedics on the road . So In my opinion AMR has been helping this struggling department for years and to write a tax measure with the upgrade to ALS in it is a slap in the face to AMR their crews and all the service they have provided .
    The number of personal that would be displaced from rural zone E would not be 9 it would be 18 . This is because the dual paramedic ambulance stationed in Brentwood and the dual paramedic ambulances the are mobile day and night would be reduced to 1:1 staffing. I don’t dare try to compare who’s job is more valuable and who could afford to be layied off as to the disrespect this could bring .
    The county contract is an whole other issue . The contract expired on 2012 but AMR was given a 2 year extension to 2014 . Seeing the state the county is in I don’t think they could afford a RFP for ambulance services as this is long and costly , don’t be surprised to see AMR here for time to come with extension after extension . You speak to AMR as the evil dragon that is going away in 2014 so you have no respect form them or their crews . You should take some time and speak to the fire departments in Alameada County who worked so hard to rid themselves of AMR and now crying for them to come back due to the ridiculous circus show that goes on over there with Paramedic Plus . They waits in upwards of 20-25 mins for a ALS code 3 ambulance on a regular bases , and also have been known to show up with one person staffing the ambulance requiring the Fire department Paramedic to ride to the hospital . No matter what ambulance service provides transport in this county they are required by law and title 22 to hire existing field staff , so your going to see the same crews no matter what the patch on there sleeve says , you might want to show a little more respect to these guys.
    Bob , nobody hear has disputed the fact the need for a fire department or the services they provide . I’m simply here to shead a little light to people on some hidden facts that are out there . I’m not going to sit hear and argue if a fire engine should respond to a medical call or not . Yes the more hands on deck the better , but do all those hands need to be paramedics form both the fire department and the ambulance staff , I say NO and sertnly not at the cost it’s going to cost . Nobody has says that “AMR ” can Handel it all , but why spend money on something that is just a duplication of service when the true problem is the money and if the department is in money trouble why waste it on hireling training and staffing the engines with paramedics a service that is already working and based upon other county models working better than most counties in California .
    Bob correct me if I’m wrong but this budget issue has been addressed several time in the past and could have been corrected years ago but the department did not fallow through . I also do believe that CAL fire put a bid in on the services sometime ago with more engines staffing and Paramedics on the engines for a fraction of the cost and it was the IAFF local 1230 that put a block to this . Should I even dare to speculate on the1230s involvement here . So if this measure does pass , word on the street is that CCCCFD is looking to absorb ECCFD seeing they now have a large budget and tax measure with no sunset clause. This is a never ending tax measure and it stands to put both ailing departments with millions of dollars in their pockets . So do I want to vote on a tax measure that could go to provide somebody in walnut creek with a brand new fire engine when my tax money was ment for Brentwood ???
    Like I’ve said before this is a sad state we are in and I don’t want to see anybody laid off . I would be all in full support for this measure if the ALS program was left out and it was truly to keep firefighters on the street but if you look pass all of it their are some scary facts that are trying to be hid from the advrage tax payer.

    • East county medic says:

      And on a side note Tom and Bob correct me if I’m wrong you MAY both be citizens of Oakley but you both are ECCFD firefighters as well ??!

  5. Bob says:

    East County Medic, you need to first stop and take a breath. You have gone so far out on a limb in speculation you are about to take a huge fall of your own creation.

    First, I am not a fire fighter.

    Other points in no particular order:

    -AMR is not some evil dragon and I don’t know why you would throw in such a pointless, emotional comment.

    – The largest cost per engine for adding Parmedics is the 10% salary differential. Or about $7k/Paramedic in the case of ECCFPD. Supplies will add some on top of that. But it’s a steal when you consider that a QRV supplied by AMR costs $435k each. Not sure where you got the 750k, but the actual numbers can be found in their contract which is available online.

    – Don’t know where you got the idea that if the tax passes that AMR can immediately cease the QRV program or drop to 1 man staffing. That would be a breach of contract. The AMR deal is not connected to ECCFPD. AMR contracts to the County as a whole. There are some specific provisions in the contract to “band-aid” the substandard service we have out here, but AMR will be doing nothing unilaterally in response to the ballot measure.

    -The Paramedic training costs which you refer to as being a major concern MUST BE SUPPLIED AT NO COST TO THE COUNTY by AMR. Since this is a JPA, that by proxy means no cost to the District. This is in the existing AMR contract with the County. A read of the document will bear this out.

    – Where you were going with the RFP thing is a mystery to me. County staff issues RFPs all the time as a normal course of business. No idea where you got the idea this is some insurmountable task.

    -The QRVs are required under the current contract and a simple review of the document will bear that out.

    -The estimated incremental cost of ALS in future years, depending on who you talk to, is between $35k-$85k per station. So taking the high side we could be looking at $750k for the program at full 7 station build out. Compare that to the $1.3M value assigned to the current 3 units of QRV and I’m at a loss to understand why you think the AMR solution is cheaper.

    – The Vasco road scenario I gave earlier is to show the need for skills that are beyond AMR. Extraction at a vehicle accident site is but one. Any large person who has fallen or is in tight quarters is another. These are not rare scenarios. In fact they are every day occurrences.

    -Using a 10 year old CalFire bid is pointless. First, because CalFire’s overhead is totally different today. You are repeating talking points fed to you by people who have poorly researched the issue. The fact that you and they cannot except that people don’t want their fire department run by people in Sacramento is the real problem here.

    -Per AMR’s contract, they have to have 2 Paramedics on scene. Whether that’s a QRV and a 1:1 or 2 from a responding ambulance doesn’t really matter. But your suggestion that they could choose to arbitrarily reduce that coverage is false. It would again be a breach of the existing contract.

    – A sunset clause was added, so your claims of “never ending tax measure” are false.

    -I talk to enough people higher up the food chain to know that your belief that ConFire would just absorb this district in the event of a ballot failure is 100% false. Please relay that fact to those “word on the street” types you converse with. ConFire has their own fiscal challenges, is facing a much larger budget deficit and quite a few more station closures than we are if they can’t get a ballot measure passed.

    Which brings us to another ancillary issue:

    – Our current auto-aid situation with ConFire is very much working to our advantage at the moment. To the tune of 50% more aid coming in that going out. We are a net benefactor. If both ours and ConFire’s measures go down to defeat, you can pretty much kiss that program good-bye. You would lose auto-aid and be forced to slower mutal aid requests. And if your neighboring fire department is also experiencing cuts, that means your mutual aid will have to come from further away and that adds to longer response times.

    -If you vote to pass this tax, your tax dollars can only be used in this District. Proposition 218 which was passed in the 1990s guarantees this. I don’t know why or where you got the idea your monies could buy a new fire engine for Walnut Creek, because that is not the case.

    East County Medic, I appreciate that you are commenting and you have the perspective of a person being on the inside, so to speak. But you are putting out a ton of misinformation and speculation there that isn’t helping the educational effort. You could rectify that by simply reading some of the available materials online.

    But I really would like to see you address the earlier question. How did you come to the determination or belief that a 3 station fire district is in any way viable? Are you questioning whether that is all that can be afforded or is there some other reason?

    What do you think your fire insurance rates are going to do? Are you 100% certain you are going to save money overall?

    • East county medic says:

      My home owners insurance will not change as for I live in a city limit with fire sations and my house is equipped with fire sprinklers . I’m covered by farmers a large insurance company . My agent informed me I have nothing to worry about in the way of rate changes they do look at how may hydrants your close to and how close you live to a fire station . He also informed me that it makes no difference if the station is staffed or not a comman miss conception . You clearly don’t understand the EMS portion of the tax measure and the way the county contract is written so that point is no longer worth trying to explain.
      Bottom line I’m intitled to my opinion and I’m intiled to share my opinion to whomever I want. Same goes to you . The sad truth is your reaching out to a population of people who have lost one income in there home and are struggling to make ends meat and your going to ask them for more money to save your job . All I can say is good luck.

  6. Tom LoCoco Oakley Citizen says:

    yep i sure do and proud of it, but 2/3rds of the time i am a citizen and a homeowner. my immediate family and my 91 year old grandparents live in the district and i want the very best service protecting them. if you would like to look at facts, figures, budgets, minutes and agendas from the fireboard feel free to drop by any of your local fire stations for they are readily available. Ill be at station 95 for the next two days come by and ill even make us a fresh pot of coffee.

  7. Bob says:

    EMC, you are entitled to your opinion. No question. Problem is your opinion is based on misinformation.

    To tell me I don’t understand the EMS portion when I have cited for you requirements of the AMR contract which you are clearly unfamiliar with?


    But the part I find most stunning is that insurance agent pitch. Can you give me the name of that agent? I would love to find out officially how a closed fire station is somehow graded the same as one that is staffed. I find that absolutely amazing!

    Are you aware of the Morgan Territories situation from 2010? They had a fire station too. Are you aware what happened when it closed?

    It’s rather odd that you opened your posting here by saying if you are going to spend more money you would like to see stations reopened to offer more fire service. Now you’re giving us the “good luck” with that request line.

    You said you live in a city with fire stations. As in plural. So I will assume Brentwood. How did you determine you don’t live near the station that will be closed? You do know that if this fails that one of them is going away, right?

    The rule of thumb your insurance agent was talking about is a requirement to be within 1500 ft of a fire hydrant AND within 5 miles of an OPERATIONAL fire station. Please note the words AND, plus OPERATIONAL. You should call him back to verify that.

    After that youmight want to start lobbying. Because I’ve heard nothing that indicates favortism of one Brentwood station over the other. In your best interest to make a case for yours.

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out a 3 station model will be 1 Oakley, 1 Discovery Bay and 1 Brentwood. Now start imagining what you do with a single alarm structure fire that requires 5 engines.

    Getting the picture yet?

    • Lynindiscobay says:

      This is to Tom..the firefighter. I will be voting NO on this measure and it has nothing to do with Emer. responses or medics or anything of that nature. It has to do with the advice my parents gave me and lived by: LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS! Unfortunately, to reign in ridiculous retirement pensions for your Fire Chiefs, etc..and even some of the firefighters in California..we taxpayers have to start somewhere. Personally I will give my insurance company the $200.00 if you guys will stop allowing people to retire at far better retirement benefits..I am sure you have seen what the San Ramon Chief got and it is an outrage to say the least.. than the average American worker will ever see..and in most cases it is not funded by you..the worker. I have been reading up on the outrageous benefits some Dept. pay their Firemen, etc and it is far more than I ever saw as a Manager for a large corporation for 34 yrs.You get to retire and receive up to 90% of your pay if you stay long enough. What you need to see from my point of view..I got to retire on 25% of my salary, plus benefits as did my husband and I am helping pay your 90% retirement. And it isn’t only you.

      I could go on and on but I will try to reign in my frustration with the system..not the Firefighters themselves and try to make a concise point. This county cannot afford to pay a retiring FireChief $200,000+ for retirement ,let him retire at 50! Now we have an annual salary of $200,000 plus retirement benefits for 20 or so years and another one for the person taking his place. How long do you people think the taxpayers are going to put up with that. Yes you have a tough job sometimes, but remember it is YOUR CHOICE! Or maybe you think it is okay because it is you. What if you were in my shoes or people who are barely hanging on these days or you lost your job? I hope you can begin to see both sides of this story. No one doubts you do good things and we are appreciative of that, so remember A NO VOTE IS NOT A PERSONAL ATTACK. There is power in numbers..use some of yours to reign in your superiors and then ask for help.

  8. Pingback: Taxpayer Association Arguments Get People Killed | BurkforOakley

  9. Retired Navy FF says:

    Can someone give me a decent explanation of why we can’t augment a reduced fire staff with volunteers? Please don’t dismiss the question, actually try and provide a thoughtful cogent response. While I’m not eager to give more of my hard earned money in taxes, I’m on the fence on this issue. Thanks!

  10. Pingback: Taxpayer Association Arguments Get People Killed « Support East County Fire

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