Preview: Supervisors to review formal fire proposals


San Benito County supervisors will consider formal proposals from Calfire and the City of Hollister Fire Department to provide fire protection to county residents for the 2013-14 year at Tuesday’s meeting. Supervisors reviewed informal proposals March 19 with direction to the two agencies to bring forward official proposals the following week.

The informal proposal from Hollister estimated an annual cost of $1.1 million to provide fire service to the county. Calfire estimated the cost for county fire service would be $1.2 million, though the state offered two models that would increase the cost by $100,000 to 200,000. Interim County Administrative Assistance Ray Espinosa said the two informal proposals were not easily comparable so county officials are expecting the formal proposals to be a more side-by-side comparison of cost and services.

Supervisors considered a consolidation of county fire services with Hollister last year rather than staying with Calfire, which has historically provided fire service in the county, but ended up voting to stay with Calfire for an additional year to allow more time for discussion. After the vote, supervisors created a fire committee, which includes Supervisors Botelho and Jerry Muenzer, along with representatives from the fire agencies, Hollister and San Juan.

At the same meeting, supervisors are also expected to receive a presentation from the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments on draft population projections as well as a report on the Highway 25 bypass route transfer.

Supervisors will also continue a discussion on medical services for the jail and juvenile hall that began at a March 11 meeting. Alan Yamamoto, the deputy director of behavioral health, agreed to look into some other options for offering medical care at the jail. He said the county’s behavioral health department provides substance abuse and mental health services in the jail, with an outside vendor offering medical care. He said Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital had offered medical services to the jail at one point. He said he could look into the possibility of renewing that option as well as other possibilities.

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