The fight between fire departments and districts over emergency response areas in Amador County grew more heated at a meeting of the Amador Fire Protection District Board of Directors, as Supervisor Richard Forster was served with a notice of a recall petition, and the city’s fire departments continued to protest the recently implemented changes in response to area maps made by the AFPD.
During public comments, Dana Calhoun, of Ione, presented a notice of recall for District 2 Supervisor Forster, citing his role in the new response areas, the recently adopted “fee for service” for medical calls implemented by the AFPD and his delaying the economic development from the Buena Vista Casino. Forster himself was not present for the meeting. The notice to the official is one of steps needed before a recall petition can be circulated.
The debate over response areas continued later in the meeting, as fire chiefs from Jackson, Ione and Sutter Creek all raised objections to the new AFPD policy, which increased the area of responsibility for the county-wide fire agency at the expense of the city fire departments. The city chiefs objected to the loss of Measure M tax money and increased response times that would result from the new maps. AFPD Fire Chief Walt White said that the new maps had come about when CAL FIRE, which provides emergency dispatch in the county, asked the AFPD for any changes when the new Buena Vista CAL FIRE station went online. The Cities of Ione and Jackson, as well as the Sutter Creek Fire District Board of Directors have passed resolutions protesting the change in response areas.
The Board of Supervisors, who also serve as the AFPD Board of Directors, signaled a willingness to address the city fire departments’ concerns, apologizing for the lack of communication and scheduling an additional meeting on July 25 to discuss how Measure M money is distributed and discuss the possibility of returning to the old response area maps.