The City is in the process of approving a new labor contract with the Fullerton Firefighter’s Association. Buried deep in the agreement on page 52 is this nugget — the City will be going from six (6) engines to five (5) engines. We’ve had six fire engines in Fullerton for many, many years.
At no time has the City come forward with any candor to admit to this change, except when I brought it up during the previous City Council meeting. Even then, none of our council members seem to care very much.
This change may well result in every property owner in the City paying higher property (fire) insurance rates. One of the factors that insurance companies use to determine rates is the Insurance Services Office (ISO) Public Protection Classification (PPC) score calculated for every fire district around the country.
The ISO score takes into consideration many factors, including the strength of the fire department and the City’s water supply. More specifically, the fire department score includes calculations for the number of engine and truck companies, their locations around the City, and the number of firefighters on duty. The fire union agreement, set for final approval on Tuesday, reduces the level of staffing by 1 position per rotating shift, which will further reduce our score.
Fullerton scored 76.71 points out of a possible 100 the last time ISO evaluated the City of Fullerton in 2012. This equates to an ISO PPC “class” of 3 on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being best).
You can read the full report here. As much as the City wants to rubber stamp the agreement and forget all about it, this is very much a matter of public policy that warrants further discussion. We will likely pay more for homeowner’s insurance due to the City having one less fire engine in service.
Do we, as a City, want to:
- Pay more in homeowner’s insurance premiums in return for less fire department staffing and resources?
- Pay more in taxes to maintain the current level of fire department staffing, and, hopefully, preserve lower insurance premiums?
- Pay the same amount in taxes, for the same, or even improved levels of fire department staffing, by forcing the firefighters to contribute more toward their pensions?
This is a choice that needs to be made now before going any further. I suggest attending Tuesday’s meeting prepared to speak, and/or send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.