The Aptos Times is devoted to the task of informing the voters rather than endorsing a particular person for the office. We asked each of the candidates to answer two questions; Orbrad Darbro responded. Here are his answers:
The Aptos area is in a time of business and residential growth. Should the Fire District also increase its equipment, locations, and the number of fire fighters?
Orbrad Darbro: According to the recent Emergency Services Master Plan created by Citygate Associates for the fire districts, the service demand has increased less than 5% a year. The study concludes that the current model of services provided by Aptos/La Selva Fire Protection District is able to absorb this rate of increase for 10 years. This is in part because the current model uses auto and mutual aid agreements with some shared services from the Central Fire Protection District.
As long term budget planning allows, service can be still be improved with additional firefighters and equipment. Currently, the district-wide response time in 2016 for the first due engine company is 10:27 minutes with 90% reliability. Additional staffing and equipment could reduce that response time, thereby improving the service that our community currently receives.
This additional response capability should not be implemented until a long term stable source of funding can be identified in the budgeting process.
Should the Aptos/La Selva and Central Fire Districts merge completely or just consolidate some of their activities?
Orbrad Darbro: The Emergency Services Consulting International Consolidation Feasibility Study which was just created for both fire districts, shows there are many opportunities to provide more efficient service delivery with a collaborative approach to emergency service delivery.
Many emergency organizations throughout the state have benefited from this type of regionalized approach and have improved the efficiencies of smaller agencies. Benefits can be achieved without full consolation just by sharing services such as administrative functions that are duplicative therefore, redundant. Other opportunities are available by combining command, training and fire prevention services.
While full consolidation may indeed be in the future of Aptos/La Selva, there are many challenges that must be overcome before that can happen. The largest challenge in front of a full consolidation is the disparate employee compensation packages that need to be reconciled.