General Manager Janice McClintock received authorization from the board of directors at a special meeting Wednesday to draft a request for proposal and look at other options for fire protection.
Director Jim Lamb made the motion to pursue an RFP, which board members approved by a 4-0 vote, though district officials are continuing to negotiate with Tracy Fire.
“I’m not happy with the way things are structured,” Lamb said. “We’re stuck with a fixed fee. They increase costs and pass it upon us.”
An RFP initiates a bidding process when an agency or company is interested in procuring a commodity. In this case, it invites various local fire agencies to approach the district with cost proposals for fire protection services.
In early September, the board put South County Fire Authority — which comprises Tracy fire department and Tracy Rural Fire Protection District — on notice that the board planned to cancel the town’s fire service contract by 2015.
At that time, McClintock told the board the fire contract needed to be updated, because it hadn’t been evaluated since 2002. She told the board the district was paying 15.8 percent of the total service bill from Tracy Fire Department while receiving 6 percent of the calls for service.
Lamb said Wednesday that Tracy firefighters were “good people” but that the district had limited time to get the matter resolved. He said the directors had to assume the worst, that SCFA might not want to complete negotiations and Mountain House would be without a fire service.
Mountain House Community Services District pays $2.3 million annually for its fire service, according to Tracy Fire Chief Al Nero. The annual cost to serve the city of Tracy is $9.3 million with another $4.1 million spent to serve the rural areas around Tracy and Mountain House.
Board president Steven Gutierrez said the fire contract wasn’t the only district contract under review.
“The staff is doing this for other large contracts,” he said, citing landscaping and engineering as two examples.
“We’re taking direction from the community,” Gutierrez said. “Best practices for government. It’s time to look at the language of the contact — this being one of many.”
McClintock is expected to present an RFP draft to the board in April.
• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.