ARCATA, Calif. (KIEM) – Measure F, a special tax to help relieve Arcata Fire District’s funding issues, saw success on the ballot in November.
Chief Justin McDonald said the district has been working to make improvements since then.
“Measure F’s passage was a great relief in one respect but then it opened up a whole different avenue for us that we have to start prepping for when the tax measure funding comes in,” McDonald said.
There is still a large amount of work to be done. The district must first replace five career firefighters who left for jobs with other agencies.
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“As of next week, I am interviewing for five open positions and we’re going to have to do that all again in January when the tax money starts coming in and we’ll hire the next round,” McDonald said.
While the passing of Measure F is a major sign of progress, it isn’t a quick fix.
“It will take time to recruit employees, interview them, and get them through the basic training,” McDonald said. “The other half of that is we have to wait until our next tax cycle for the money to actually hit our treasury.”
It is only then that the rolling brownouts will cease and all fire stations will be open to serve the public.
“The third station, you probably won’t see that open up until some time after the first of the year. That’s when we can get that next wave of hiring to staff that station,” McDonald said.
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That is the ultimate goal for the Arcata Fire District. In the meantime, the district is working to make the necessary moves in order to smoothly return to full strength.