Donner fire annexation considered |

Donner fire annexation considered

The Donner Summit Public Utility District and the Truckee Fire Protection District will enter open discussions that may lead to Truckee Fire annexing the utility district’s fire department.

In early October, the DSPUD, which runs the Donner Summit Fire Department, asked for proposals from Truckee Fire and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to outsource personnel and provide administrative and management services with the intent to annex the department. The utility district board of directors chose to begin contract discussions with Truckee Fire.

“Donner Summit is adjacent to us, and they support us quite a bit,” said Truckee fire Chief Mike Terwilliger. “It’s just the nature of two fire districts helping each other.”

Utility district General Manager Tom Skjelstad cited high personnel turnover in the last few months as the main reason for the discussions between the agencies. DSPUD, which also provides water and sewer service to more than 1,000 residences on the summit, has a small fire department, with six full-time paid positions and approximately 15 paid call volunteers.

Another reason the utility district is seeking management from another fire department, Skjelstad said, is the uncertainty of weather and the possible impact on the department’s resources.

“A lot of the fire department’s revenue is off ambulance calls on I-80 or the ski resorts, especially in the winter,” he said. “Say we have a couple of drought years, that could really hurt us.”

However, Skjelstad said financial issues are not the primary reason for the contract discussions.

If Truckee Fire annexes the Donner Summit Fire Department, the current Soda Springs station, which is attached to the DSPUD office building, will operate as a fifth Truckee Fire station. During the contract period, the DSPUD will retain ownership and control of equipment and facilities.

Skjelstad said a committee of the Truckee Fire and DSPUD boards of directors will begin discussions after Jan. 1, 2004, and the contract process between the two agencies should begin in April.

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