By Karen Brainard
Ramona Municipal Water District directors have renewed an agreement for Cal Fire to provide services with a projected increase of $315,349 for the next fiscal year.
RMWD contracts with the state agency to provide fire protection and paramedic services on a year-to-year basis. The agreement calls for a budgeted amount of $5.54 million for the 2013-14 fiscal year, which begins July 1.
Ramona Fire Department/Cal Fire Battalion Chief Burke Kremensky told the board that the additional $315,349 is due to accrual of employee leave balances, a rise in fuel costs, and an increase in employer health/dental contributions.
RMWD General Manager David Barnum told the
that some employees had to take less vacation time than allowed, due to the size of the fire department, and if retiring or transferring they have to be compensated.
The board adopted a resolution to enter in the Cal Fire agreement by a vote of 4-0. Director Kit Kesinger was absent.
In other business at the meeting:
•Kremensky told the board that the Ramona department has loaned a backup ambulance to the Barona Fire Protection District “through spirit of cooperation,” because Barona had an ambulance placed out of service for mechanical issues. Ramona Fire Department has an extra emergency vehicle, that will eventually be sold, since it recently purchased a new ambulance with a grant provided in part by Barona Band of Mission Indians.
•The water board extended the option period for The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to purchase a conservation easement over a portion of district sprayfield property by Rangeland Road. The option, which had a deadline of Aug. 8, 2013, will be extended until Aug. 8, 2014, due to delays by regulatory agencies.
According to the water district, it gave TNC the option to purchase a conservation easement for approximately $1.1 million, so sprayfields could possibly be used as mitigation for environmental impacts if improvements are made to the Santa Maria Wastewater Reclamation Plant.