The Groveland Community Services District Team’s dedication to providing fire safety for and protecting the fiscal equity of its customers has been top of mind since the current management staff and board of directors came together permanently as the GCSD Team in 2019.
Three years of the Team persistently conveying the need of additional fire services has recently paid off in an exciting and big way. On May 3, 2022, at the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting, Tuolumne County’s CAO, Tracie Riggs and her staff were directed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors to budget one million dollars in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to add a fully staffed, fire engine to Groveland’s Station 78. GCSD’s General Manager, Pete Kampa shared his gratitude to District 4 Supervisor, Kathleen Haff for her commitment to keep the matter in the forefront of the minds of her peers during the preliminary budget exercise the Supervisors participated in during the meeting. During the May GCSD Regular Board Meeting, he commended the entire Board of Supervisors on their actions to protect the residents of the southern section of the county.
This additional level of fire protection for the Groveland area is set to begin as soon as July 1, 2022. The CALFIRE firefighters will man the Type 1 Engine that Tuolumne County currently has available for use and will be joining the current staff at Station 78 once details are finalized through the Memorandum of Understanding to dial in the logistical and financial arrangements with the county.
The commitment by Tuolumne County to fund the engine and staff at the downtown Groveland station will serve the area until the county provides its own fire station in on the Highway 120 corridor. Currently, the GCSD Fire Department’s one engine is required to make calls outside of the GCSD boundaries that includes the area up to the Big Oak Flat entrance gate of Yosemite National Park. The Team has been adamant with the county that the tax payers in within the boundaries of the District should not be solely paying for these services and put at risk when the existing, single engine is on a call outside of the District boundaries.
In addition to facilitating the increased fire engine coverage, the GCSD Team has worked diligently to secure over $571,000 in grant funding for the protection of the area’s communities and critical water/sewer infrastructure from wildfire. This protection is in the form of fire fuel breaks that area created by the reduction of fire fuel.
Previously, private contractors utilizing hand crews and/or operating masticators created shaded fuel breaks by hand cutting or masticating surface and ladder fuels in the understory of the GCSD properties on approximately 119 acres. The cost was covered by a California Climate Investment Grant which was awarded to the District on 9/8/2021 for the amount of $405,462. A large portion of the fuel reduction will allow the Rim Truck Trail West Fuel Break and Jones Hill Fuel Break to be segment by segment constructed encompassing the Community of Groveland and the GCSD.
General Manager, Pete Kampa stated that the Team is extremely grateful for this recent decision from the Board of Supervisors and looks forward to continued collaboration to bring more protection to the District’s customers.
Stay informed about the current issues and positive momentum of the District by following our social media accounts on Facebook @GrovelandGCSD and Nextdoor by joining the Official GCSD Group, and/or frequently visiting the District website at www.gcsd.org.
Roni Lynn Rudy
Independent Community Relations Consultant