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Tenacity Pays Off for Groveland Fire Services

By Roni Lynn Rudy

The current Groveland Community Services District (GCSD) Board of Directors, Spencer Edwards, Robert Swan, Janice Kwiatkowski, Nancy Mora, and John Armstrong have even working cohesively over the last three years to bring much needed attention to the crucial topic of fire services. Due to over two years of their fervent direction, the District will realize a significant increase in fire protection with the help of Tuolumne County.

As directed, GM Pete Kampa led the concerted efforts of County Supervisor Kathleen Haff and county staff to focus on resolving the fire service issues for the community. Based on these actions, Groveland will soon have an additional fire crew and increased, accessible water to improve fire flow levels in the Big Oak Flat area.

On April 19, 2022, at the Board of Supervisors meeting, the board approved action items to be paid for with funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. District 4 Supervisor Kathleen Haff took a firm stand and reminded her peers that they had committed to place fire services for southern Tuolumne County in a top priority position with the upcoming budget. Because of Supervisor Haff, our board, and COA, Tracie Riggs, the county will fund a Tuolumne County fire station, to be co-located with GCSD Fire.

The attached contract (see link) amends the current agreement with CAL FIRE by removing the Groveland Amador Fire Engine Staffing and adding in six full time, benefitted staff for an additional Tuolumne County Fire Engine, to be co-located with GCSD fire. The term for the current contract is July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2023. The term will not change.

Learn more background here:

Because County Supervisors had previously approved allocating $1 million to the Groveland Fire Department, that number will remain available to the line item in the upcoming budget. The surplus of $147,843 will go toward fire fighters personal protective equipment.

The Boards’ direction will also bring increased water availability to Big Oak Flat. District staff is through working with the Department of Water Resources on the Groveland Drought Resilience Project funding agreement for $8.5 million. The agreement is expected within a few months and the state has authorized immediate expenditures in advance of receiving the final agreement.

At this time, the team is working on securing an agreement with a prime engineering firm to conduct the heavy lifting on project design. As of June 8, 2022, the GM is currently working to schedule with well drillers to find groundwater that will provide the increased fire flow necessary for the community.

The GCSD team remains grateful for the direction of the Board and the collaborative efforts of Tuolumne County representatives.

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