Chief to present fire merger plan to city council

July 18, 2011 1:19:47 PM PDT
A San Mateo County fire chief said Monday that plans are moving forward to merge the fire departments of four Peninsula cities.

Central County Fire Department Fire Chief Don Dornell will go before the Burlingame City Council tonight to present a plan to implement a pilot program that would combine the Millbrae and San Bruno fire departments with Central County fire, which serves Burlingame and Hillsborough.

The pilot program for the merger, which has been approved by the city councils of all four cities, is projected to cut operating costs by closing two fire stations and consolidating administrative functions, Dornell said.

According to feasibility studies conducted by independent analysts, Burlingame would save an estimated $546,000 in annual operating costs, Dornell said. San Bruno would save $230,000, Millbrae would save $375,000, and Hillsborough would see $364,000 in savings.

Six different locations have been identified as potential sites for a new fire station that would replace the two slated for closure in Burlingame on Hillsdale Drive and in Millbrae on Crestview Drive, Dornell said.

The preferred location for a shared station is off of Skyline Boulevard in the hills above Burlingame and Millbrae, Dornell said.

A temporary facility would be built to ensure adequate response times for both communities before a permanent station is constructed after one year.

Administrative cost savings will be achieved through a combination of early retirements and reclassification of various positions, Dornell said. No employees will lose their jobs as a result of the merger.

The implementation plan will be presented at the 7 p.m. council meeting at Burlingame City Hall, located at 501 Primrose Road.


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