McCloud Fire Department disappointed that ZIB contract wasn't approved

Shareen Strauss
Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers
Members of the McCloud community and several volunteer firefighters at last week's McCloud Community Services District Board meeting.

The McCloud Community Services District voted 3 to 2 last week against a $30,000 contract from ZIB (Zone of Increased Benefits) for the McCloud Fire Department.  

The contract was for the volunteer fire department in McCloud to respond to the greater McCloud area, which includes Squaw Valley Road, Mt Shasta Forest, and Wilderness Estates subdivisions, which the fire department already does cover. 

All fire departments in California already participate in the Mutual Aid Agreement where different fire agencies will come to the aid in other areas if needed.  

McCloud's new Fire Department Chief Charlie Miller stands in front of the mostly new volunteer firefighters  he recruited in hopes of making the department more self-sufficient and prepared to serve the McCloud community.

This contract came about after it was learned that the McCloud CAL FIRE station will no longer be providing services outside of the fire season because of the failing of Measure G: the Amador contract will no longer pay for a second person to be staffed at the CAL FIRE station outside of the fire season. There needs to be at least two firefighters to staff a fire engine. 

MCSD board member Raymond Zanni and fire chief Charlie Miller said the money would have helped the department, which is on a tight budget. 

Since Miller has taken over less than a year ago, the department has grown to 12 active firefighters, three paramedics, three EMTs and other auxiliary members. In March, the MFD responded to 12 medical calls, two fires, and seven other miscellaneous calls including a mutual aid call. 

The contract was broken down on how the money would be allocated from insurance, Workers Comp, maintenance for equipment and the building, to training, gas, utilities and supplies. 

Michael Rorke, who was one of the three MCSD board members who voted against the contract, said, “I feel at this time the district is not prepared for this responsibility. We are premature in this endeavor.”

Members of the McCloud community at last week's McCloud Community Services District Board meeting.

Of the approximately 30 people in the audience at the April meeting, many spoke up and then left, citing frustration at the lack of discussion as to the reasoning behind voting against the contract.

Resident Craig Mattson said, “If they have a problem with the contract or funding, they should discuss it in the public meeting so the public will know why this was voted down. The public has a right to know. If we don't know what their concerns are, we don't know what to say during public comments.”