Here We Go Again.
Just as the dust seemed to settle from the impassioned debate regarding outsourcing police services in San Carlos to an outside agency, the San Carlos City Council must again decide whether to do the same with the other critical element of public safety in San Carlos: Fire services. After a lengthy mediation over the weekend failed to save the Joint Powers Agreement with Belmont, both cities left the table in different directions to seek their own solutions for providing fire services before the October dissolution of the Belmont-San Carlos Fire Department.
The failure to revive the Belmont-San Carlos Fire Department now leaves the City Council with the following three alternatives to provide fire services to the City of San Carlos:
- Create an standalone San Carlos Fire Department.
- Merge fire services with Redwood City.
- Outsource to a private company – Wackenhut Services.
The latter two solutions are the ones being most strongly considered by the City Council, since a standalone department isn’t economically feasible with the current budget deficit. And it’s the choice between these two that is polarizing many in the City of Good Living.
Firefighters Against Privatization.
This past weekend, nearly 100 firefighters canvassed the City of San Carlos distributing flyers that decry the option of outsourcing fire services to Wackenhut. Unlike the police solution where a known, local entity (San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department) took over the reins, the fire solution is a bit more nebulous. Wackenhut, a company that specializes in security and emergency services, is a corporation that is located out of state, so there is a palpable uneasiness with many about handing over such a critical piece of public safety to a corporation that doesn’t appear to have a single firefighting contract in the state of California.
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