SANTA MARGARITA FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

SANTA MARGARITA FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 1 San Luis Obispo LAFCO PUBLIC REVIEW DRAFT SPHERE OF INFLUENCE UPDATE AND MUNICIPAL SERVICE REVIEW FOR SANTA MARGARITA FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT PREPARED BY: SAN LUIS OBISPO LOCAL AGENCY FORMATION COMMISSION OCTOBER 2008

SANTA MARGARITA FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Public Review Draft October 2008 SOI Update-Municipal Service Review Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 2 San Luis Obispo LAFCO San Luis Obispo LOCAL AGENCY FORMATION COMMISSION COMMISSIONERS Chairman: Richard Roberts, Public Member Vice Chairman: David Brooks, Special District Member K.

H. “Katcho” Achadjian, County Member Bruce Gibson, County Member Barbara Mann, Special District Member Duane Picanco, City Member Allen Settle, City Member ALTERNATES Ed Eby, Special District Member Tom Murray, Public Member Gary Nemeth, City Member James R. Patterson, County Member STAFF Paul L. Hood, Executive Officer Raymond A. Biering, Legal Counsel David Church, Deputy Executive Officer Donna J. Bloyd, Commission Clerk

SANTA MARGARITA FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Public Review Draft October 2008 SOI Update-Municipal Service Review Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 3 San Luis Obispo LAFCO TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER 1: SPHERE OF INFLUENCE UPDATE Introduction ___ 1
Sphere of Influence Update ___ 3
Santa Margarita Fire Protection District ___ 5
California Environmental Quality Act ___ 6
Recommendation ___ 7
CHAPTER 2: MUNICIPAL SERVICE REVIEW Infrastructure Needs and Deficiencies ___ 14
Growth and Population ___ 15
Financing Opportunities and Constraints ___ 16
Cost-Avoidance Opportunities ___ 17
Government Structure Options ___ 18
Local Accountability and Governance ___ 18
FIGURES Figure 1-1 Service Area and Sphere of Influence ___ 7
Figure 1-2 Future Areas of Development ___ 9
Figure 2-1 Past and Projected Population ___ 10
Figure 2-2 Emergency Responses 2005-2007 ___ 16
Figure 2-3 Adopted Budgets 2005-2009 ___ 20
Figure 2-4 Fund Balance/Reserves ___ 21
Figure 2-5 Revenues and Expenditures 2005-2007 ___ 21
Figure 2-6 Long Term Debt ___ 22
TABLES Table 1-1 Active Powers and LAFCO Recommendation ___ 4
Table 1-2: Principal Act ___ 5
Table 2-1: Equipment purchased with Grants ___ 18
Table 2-2: CALFIRE Station 40 Equipment ___ 19
Table 2-3: CALFIRE Station 41 Equipment ___ 19
REFERENCES

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Public Review Draft October 2008 SOI Update-Municipal Service Review Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 4 San Luis Obispo LAFCO SANTA MARGARITA FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT EXPANDED MUNICIPAL SERVICE REVIEW CHAPTER 1 – SPHERE OF INFLUENCE UPDATE This is an expanded Municipal Service Review completed for the Santa Margarita Fire Protection District (SMFPD). In December 2007, the Local Agency Formation Commission LAFCO approved the Sphere of Influence Update and Municipal Service Review for the District. A limited Municipal Services Review was prepared and approved by the Commission.

The Commission directed LAFCO Staff to complete a more comprehensive Municipal Service Review in 2008.

The Sphere of Influence will remain unchanged from what was determined in December 2007. The purpose of a Municipal Service Review is to provide information about a jurisdiction’s service capabilities. It is used to help the Commission determine the appropriate extent of a Sphere of Influence. The MSR is not a regulatory document that requires a jurisdiction to comply with a particular set of legal requirements. The Cortese/Knox/Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000 (CKH Act) required the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) to update the Spheres of Influence (SOI) for all applicable jurisdictions in the County by January 2008.

No expansion or reduction to the Sphere of Influence was made by LAFCO. The table below identified the Active Powers of the SMFPD: Table 1-1: Active Powers and LAFCO Recommendation Special District Active Powers Recommendation Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Fire Protection and Emergency Response No changes to the SOI were recommended in December 2007, however a more comprehensive Municipal Service Review should be completed in 2008 because of the growth and development issues associated with the Santa Margarita Ranch. The SOI may be updated if necessary to provide the opportunity for increased fire protection services.

Municipal Service Review. A SOI is generally considered to be a possible future growth boundary for a jurisdiction over the next 20 years. The Service Review is used to help determine the Sphere of Influence and the jurisdiction’s ability to provide services to an expanded area or, in some cases, a reduced SOI area. The MSR is an informational document and is intended to help LAFCO determine the Sphere of Influence for a jurisdiction. The MSR is not a detailed audit of a jurisdiction’s operations or financial status, nor is it intended to be used as such. The Service Review is a summary-level analysis of information provided by the Santa Margarita Fire Protection District to LAFCO.

Information from the County Planning Department and Auditor’s Office is also used to prepare the MSR. LAFCO Staff reviews the various information provided by the SMFPD and other sources. Based on this review, LAFCO makes a recommendation regarding the Sphere of influence.

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Public Review Draft October 2008 SOI Update-Municipal Service Review Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 5 San Luis Obispo LAFCO The Municipal Service Review for the SMFPD is prepared in accordance with Section 56430 of the California Government Code. This code section was updated in 2008 to include six factors instead of the original nine factors. The Service Review contains written determinations that address the following six factors. Information and written determinations regarding each of the factors is provided in the Service Review. The six service review factors are addressed in Chapter Two and include: 1.

Growth and Population projections for the affected area. 2. Present and planned capacity of public facilities and adequacy of public services, including infrastructure needs or deficiencies 3. Financial ability of agencies to provide services 4. Status of, and opportunity for, shared facilities 5. Accountability for community service needs including governmental structure and operational efficiencies 6. Any other matter related to effective or efficient service delivery, as required by commission policy LAFCOs compile a variety of information in preparing a Service Review. Also, administrative and organizational information is collected and evaluated.

In order to complete this analysis LAFCO relied on Audit Reports submitted to the County AuditorController’s Office pursuant to state law, original formation filing documents, State Controllers Special Districts Annual Financial Reports, and information from various websites. The entire list of references is included in Attachment B. Principal Act. Principal Acts are the parts of California Law that govern district formations, activities and operations. The Principal Act for a Fire Protection District is found in sections of California Law listed below: Table 1-2: Principal Act DISTRICT CODE SECTION CODE Fire Protection District 13800 - 13970 Health and Safety Code The above code section is applicable to the Fire Protection District in Santa Margarita.

Unless a principal act specifically excludes LAFCO involvement, formation and changes of organization are within LAFCO’s authority. Health and Safety Code Section 13862 allows a Fire Protection District to provide the following services: (a) Fire protection services.

(b) Rescue services. (c) Emergency medical services. (d) Hazardous material emergency response services. (e) Ambulance services, pursuant to Division 2.5 (commencing with Sec. 1797).

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Public Review Draft October 2008 SOI Update-Municipal Service Review Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 6 San Luis Obispo LAFCO (f) Any other services relating to the protection of lives and property. According to Health and Safety Code section 13810, annexations to Fire Protection Districts may be contiguous or non-contiguous.

This means that areas that the District might serve do not have to be adjacent to the Districts service boundary. The District could annex properties that do not abut the service area of the District. 13810. Any territory, whether incorporated or unincorporated, whether contiguous or noncontiguous, may be included in a district. Territory that is classified as a State Responsibility Area by CALFIRE may be included in a District, unless the area is a timbered commercial forest lands. 13811. Territory which has been classified as a state responsibility area may be included in a district, except for commercial forest lands which are timbered lands declared to be in a state responsibility area.

The executive officer of the local agency formation commission shall give mailed notice of the commission's hearing on any proposal to include a state responsibility area in a district, whether by annexation or formation, to the Director of Forestry and Fire Protection. The commission may approve the proposal. Upon inclusion of a state responsibility area in a district, whether by formation or annexation, the state shall retain its responsibility for fire suppression and prevention on timbered, brush, and grass-covered lands. The district shall be responsible for fire suppression and prevention for structures in the area and may provide the same services in the state responsibility area as it provides in other areas of the district.

The following Health and Safety code section gives LAFCO the authority to govern changes of organization to a Fire Protection District. A change of organization includes an incorporation, district formation, annexation or detachment, disincorporation of a city, a district dissolution, consolidation of cities or special districts or a merger of a subsidiary district (GC 56021).

13812. The Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000 (Division 3 (commencing with Section 56000) of Title 5 of the Government Code) shall govern any change of organization or reorganization of a district. Sphere of Influence. The SMFPD Sphere of Influence was updated by LAFCO on December 6, 2007. The map (Figure 1:1) on the next page shows the Service Area and Sphere of Influence for the District. The SOI is the same (co-terminus) as the existing service boundary.

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Public Review Draft October 2008 SOI Update-Municipal Service Review Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 7 San Luis Obispo LAFCO Figure 1-1

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Public Review Draft October 2008 SOI Update-Municipal Service Review Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 8 San Luis Obispo LAFCO SPHERE OF INFLUENCE UPDATE According to section 56425(e)(1-4) of the Cortese/Knox/Hertzberg Act, the following written determinations must be addressed when updating a Sphere of Influence:
  • The present and planned land uses in the area may intensify over the next several years as the development of the Santa Margarita Ranch progresses. The 111 unit agricultural cluster subdivision proposed to the south of town may need District services. Also, under County consideration is the Future Development Program for other portions of the Santa Margarita Ranch. Figure 1:2 shows the areas identified in the Future Development Program. These areas may increase the need for emergency services from the SMFPD when they are development.
  • The present and probable need for public facilities and services may increase depending on the land use decisions made by the Board of Supervisors over the next few years. Future services are planned for by the District through the annual budget process and by participating in the planning process for the Santa Margarita Ranch. If the Agricultural Residential Cluster is approved by the County, including it within the Sphere of Influence of the District would allow the District and property owner flexibility to consider annexation as a way to increase the level of fire protection needed for this area.
  • The present capacity of the public facilities are adequate to provide services to the community of Santa Margarita, however; prior to annexation a study of the adequacy of the Districts facilities and equipment, and water fire flow should be completed.
  • Social or economic communities of interest that exist in the area benefit from the District’s services because these services allow the community to receive fire services that are vital to the small residential community. Recommendation. At this time, the potential future growth areas identified in the Santa Margarita Ranch planning process should not be included in the District’s Sphere of Influence. These areas should be re-considered for inclusion in the SMFPD’s SOI if the County approves the Agricultural Residential Cluster, Future Development Program and Program EIR.

Each phase for future development of the Ranch should address the potential impacts to the Santa Margarita FPD. Possible annexation of these areas into the District should be considered as part of the planning process. The SMFPD, CALFIRE, and the County should form a working group to address the impacts of Ranch Development with regard to emergency response. The group should focus on the increased need for response resources as the Ranch is developed and when those resources should be operational.

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 9 San Luis Obispo LAFCO Figure 1-2

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 10 San Luis Obispo LAFCO SANTA MARGARITA FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT CHAPTER 2 - MUNICIPAL SERVICE REVIEW The following sections address the six factors listed in the Cortese/Knox/Hertzberg Act in Government Code Section 56430. Factor 1. Growth and Population projections for the affected area The SMFPR now serves approximately 1,350 residents of the town of Santa Margarita. Since 1970 Santa Margarita’s population has increased by approximately 625 people. From 1980 to 1990, the population of Santa Margarita increased from 887 to 1,066. This is an increase of 179 in population, or a 20% increase which equates to an average annual growth rate of about 2.0%.

In the 1990’s the population increased by only 158, a 10-year growth rate of 15%. The annual growth rate for that decade (1990-2000) was an average of 1.5%. Growth is slowed by a lack of a reliable domestic water supply, the decreasing number of vacant lots, and the community’s overall desire to preserve the existing character and natural resources. The chart below shows the growth since 1970 and the potential future growth project at a 1.5% average annual rate. Future growth depends in large part on the availability of water for domestic uses and other services. Figure 2-1 Santa Margarita Past - Projected Population 725 887 1,066 1,398 1,600 1,224 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 Years Persons Population Sources: U.S.

Census, County of San Luis Obispo

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Public Review Draft October 2008 Municipal Service Review Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 11 San Luis Obispo LAFCO Future Growth. The Santa Margarita Ranch Agricultural Residential Cluster Subdivision Project and Future Development Program are being considered by the County of San Luis Obispo. The Draft Environmental Impact Report describes the project as follows: This proposal includes two components: 1) an Agricultural Residential Cluster Subdivision (Tentative Tract 2586), for which an application has been filed with the County, and 2) a Future Development Program, for which no application has been filed.

The Santa Margarita Ranch property (hereinafter, “the Ranch”) encompasses approximately 14,000 acres and is located immediately east of U.S. Highway 101, and surrounds the community of Santa Margarita. The proposed Agricultural Residential Cluster Subdivision includes 3,778 acres near the middle of the Ranch, southeast of the community of Santa Margarita, while the Future Development Program occurs in various locations throughout the balance of the 14,000-acre property (refer to Figures 2-1 and 2-2; Figure 2-1 shows the regional location of the project site, while Figure 2-2 shows the site within its local context).

The proposed subdivision also includes a 2,417 acre remainder lot that is not proposed for development at this time. The remainder parcel is located north of the proposed Agricultural Residential Cluster Subdivision lots, south of the community of Santa Margarita.

The proposed Agricultural Residential Cluster Subdivision site is located southeast of the community of Santa Margarita, west of Pozo Road. The proposed agricultural cluster development includes 111 clustered homesites and one ranch headquarters unit (located on Parcel 42), with development area totaling 163.1 acres, with the remaining 3,633 acres placed in agricultural conservation easements (ACEs). The agricultural cluster subdivision includes transportation infrastructure, water service improvements, underground wire utilities, and onsite septic systems. The proposed residential units would be located throughout a 676.6 acre area in the north-central portion of the site, west of West Pozo Road, to be constructed in three phases, each with independent services, infrastructure, and respective agricultural/conservation dedications.

Proposed lot sizes range from between 1.0 to 2.5 acres and comprise approximately 128 acres, with approximately 16 acres for roadways, driveways and other improvements.

The Future Development Program occurs throughout the portions of the Santa Margarita Ranch property generally outside the boundaries of the Agricultural Residential Cluster Subdivision, east of Highway 101 and surrounding both the community of Santa Margarita and the proposed Agricultural Residential Cluster Subdivision (refer to Figure 2-9). The Future Development Program includes the

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Public Review Draft October 2008 Municipal Service Review Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 12 San Luis Obispo LAFCO balance of the 550 single-family residential units allowable pursuant to the Salinas River Area Plan (approximately 402 residences) and the additional following uses: private golf course, club house and pro shop; guest ranch, lodge, and restaurant; 12-room bed and breakfast; cafe; amphitheater; crafts studios, galleries and shops; interpretive center and gift shops; nine wineries with tasting rooms and permitted special events; neighborhood park and swimming pool; five ranch/farm headquarters; one livestock sales yard and café; three places of worship; and a retreat center.

The Future Development Program contemplates two of the envisioned wineries and two of the anticipated ranch headquarters within the Agricultural Conservation Easements (ACEs) associated with the proposed Agricultural Residential Cluster Subdivision. If the Santa Margarita Ranch Development is approved, the SMFPD would be in the position of responding to emergencies as a mutual or automatic aid agency. This future development would like place increased responsibilities upon the District in terms of responding to emergency calls. The Ranch area is designated as a very high fire hazard severity zone by CALFIRE.

Growth and population increases in this area produce a Wildland Urban Interface that is problematic in terms of an adequate response. According to the Draft Program EIR, the Agricultural Residential Cluster Subdivision would allow people to live an area that has a high potential for wildland fire hazards. This could increase the number of emergency situations that the District would be responding to in the area. In this case both CALFIRE and the SMFPD would be responding to an emergency call. The Program EIR indicates that the current response situation places the SMFPD 1.7 miles away and the Parkhill Fire Station 3.2 miles away.

The Draft Program EIR calls for the applicant to dedicate land for the construction of a CALFIRE Station, or to pay in-lieu fees to fund construction. This would done in consultation with CALFIRE and the County Public Works Department. Provision for constructing the new station (in-lieu funds or dedication of land) would occur prior to issuing occupancy permits for the Agricultural Residential Cluster Subdivision. The way the mitigation is currently written, the applicant could pay in-leiu or dedicate land and then obtain occupancy permits. The mitigation would allow people to move into the subdivision without the construction of the Fire Station completed.

If this occurs the SMFPD will be the first responder to any emergency calls to the subdivision. The lack of a timetable for constructing the Station could place the emergency response burden upon the SMFPD for an unknown period of time.

DETERMINATIONS 1. The projected growth and population of Santa Margarita is estimated in the County’s Resource Management Summary Annual Report, U.S. Census and has been documented since 1970.

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Public Review Draft October 2008 Municipal Service Review Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 13 San Luis Obispo LAFCO 2. The Santa Margarita Ranch development anticipates growth in and around the town of Santa Margarita. If approved, the 111 unit subdivision would increase the number of emergency calls that the SMFPD responds to in the area.

3. The mitigation measure in the Final EIR that calls for the construction a Fire Station that is operated by CALFIRE does not identify when the station would be constructed. The mitigation calls for the applicant to dedicate land, or pay an inlieu fee that would provide for the construction of Station prior to issuing a permit for occupancy for the Agriculture cluster. This could mean that the District will be responsible for an unknown number of increased emergency responses caused by the Agriculture Subdivision or the Future Development Program. 4. The SMFPD could grow outside its current boundaries to serve other locations in the Santa Margarita Ranch Area, but would need to increase the service capability of the District.

5. The Salinas River Area Plan projects the future population and provides a comprehensive policy base for the future growth and development of the Community of Santa Margarita. 6. The Salinas River Area Plan provides policies and programs that were considered by the Community through public workshops and hearings. The Plan is reflective of many of the Community’s concerns, values and vision for Santa Margarita.

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Public Review Draft October 2008 Municipal Service Review Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 14 San Luis Obispo LAFCO Factor 2.

Present and planned capacity of public facilities and adequacy of public services, including infrastructure needs or deficiencies Prior to updating a Sphere of Influence, LAFCO is responsible for assessing whether an agency is reasonably capable of providing the needed resources and basic infrastructure to serve areas within the SMFPD and within the Sphere of Influence. It is important that such findings of infrastructure and resource availability occur when revisions to the SOI and annexations occur. It is prudent for LAFCO to evaluate the present and long-term infrastructure demands and resource availability of the community for future LAFCO decisions.

This section reviews the SMFPD capabilities with regard to the provision of fire protection services including emergency medical response.

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District The Santa Margarita Fire Protection District was formed by petition and Board of Supervisors resolution in 1921. The District was inactive or operating at minimal service levels between 1925 and 1949. Since 1949 the District has provided volunteer fire protection to district residents. A five member Board of Directors manages district affairs. The District is an all volunteer fire Department that includes 15 volunteer firefighter positions. Currently the District has 11 volunteers. Santa Margarita is a community of approximately 1,400 people. The District’s Service Area includes the urban area of Santa Margarita, however; the District responds to numerous fire and emergency calls each year and provides mutual aid response to areas outside their service area.

The District has weekly meetings to train and work with volunteers. The District is funded with property taxes, investment income, and miscellaneous grant funding. The District approves an annual budget that identifies revenues and expenditures for the next year.

Fire flows and water supply are generally adequate. Upgrades such as a new water tank will improve fire flows throughout the town. Response times are generally 3-6 minutes with the District’s service area. The District has automatic and mutual aid agreement with CALFIRE. The automatic aid agreement provides for response to emergency calls within a certain designated area and for dispatch services. The mutual aid agreement enables the SMFPD to be called in on a response situation depending on the need for additional resources.

The present response capability of the District appears adequate for the town of Santa Margarita and surrounding area at its current population and geographic size.

Future growth of the Santa Margarita Ranch would require the District to respond to an unknown increased number of emergency situations. The District has also been responsible for the following tasks:

  • Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Public Review Draft October 2008 Municipal Service Review Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 15 San Luis Obispo LAFCO
  • Plan Review. The Fire Department works with the County of San Luis Obispo Department of Planning and Building to ensure that all new building and remodel projects comply with State fire and safety codes and environmental regulations. All residential and commercial building projects requiring a County building permit also require a Fire Plan Review by the Fire Department.
  • Building Inspection. The Fire Department reviews Fire Plans that are submitted by an applicant to the Department. The review is completed prior to building permit approval and is conducted to insure compliance with fire and safety regulations. By performing these reviews, businesses can often reduce the risk of a fire. The Department's goal is assuring that all buildings meet local and state codes and ordinances. Some of the fire and safety requirements for residences, businesses and other public facilities include: o A defensible space between vegetation and building or structure o Adequate fire extinguisher systems and fire hydrants o Sufficient water flow to extinguish a fire o Adequate fire exits o Building construction and design that will protect occupants from a wildland fire or other external threat Santa Margarita is identified as a Local Responsibility Area by the State of California. The SMFPD is identified as Direct Fire Protection Provider. The area that surrounds the town is a State Responsibility Area. This is defined by the State of California as “lands exclusive of Cities and federal lands regardless of ownership, classified by the State Board of Forestry as areas in which the primary financial responsibility for preventing and suppressing fires is that of the State. These are lands covered wholly or in part by timber, brush, undergrowth, or grass, whether of commercial value or not, which protect the soil from erosion, retard runoff of water or accelerated percolation, and lands used principally for range or forage purpose.” The majority of calls received by the SMFPD are for emergency medical and rescue services. The SMFPD responds to emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are trained to render emergency medical care and use automatic external defibrillators. The District also responds automatically to accidents along the Highway 101 corridor from Santa Barbara Road in the north to the top of the Cuesta Grade to the South. Plans for improving the response capability of the District were not submitted as part of this review. The future growth and development associated with the Santa Margarita Ranch could impact the response capability of the SMFPD. Many of the areas proposed for future development are located such that the SMFPD would be the first responder in the event of an emergency.

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Public Review Draft October 2008 Municipal Service Review Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 16 San Luis Obispo LAFCO The chart below shows the total number of response calls by the SMFPD over the last three years. The total is broken into two categories: 1) In-Town Responses and 2) Automatic Aid-Out of Area Responses. The number of calls in the town of Santa Margarita has remained relatively stable over the last three years. The Automatic Aid responses to areas outside of Santa Margarita have been on the rise over the last three years. This trend is important to note and monitor because when the District’s Response resources are out on a call out of the area, the town of Santa Margarita has reduced emergency response coverage.

Insurance Service Office (ISO). The ISO is an advisory organization that serves the property and casualty insurance industry by providing inspection and statistical services. The Insurance Service Office classifies communities from 1 to 10 (Sometimes 9 is used depending on the rating criteria). Communities with the best systems for water distribution, fire department equipment and firefighting personnel and fire alarm facilities receive a rating of 1. A Public Protection Classification (PPC) rating has a direct bearing on the cost of property insurance for homes and buildings in a community.

The ISO collects information on municipal fire-protection efforts in communities throughout the United States. In each of those communities, the ISO analyzes the relevant data using a Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS). The ISO then assigns a Public Protection Classification from 1 to 10. Class 1 represents exemplary public protection, and Class 10 indicates that the area's fire-suppression program doesn't meet ISO's minimum criteria. The following criteria are analyzed when establishing the ISO rates a community: C Fire alarm and communication systems, including telephone systems, telephone lines, staffing, and dispatching systems.

Figure 2-2: Santa Margarita FPD Responses 2005-2007 59 46 59 58 65 78 117 111 137 25 50 75 100 125 150 175 2005 2006 2007 Responses In-town Reponses Automatic Aid Responses Total Responses

  • Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Public Review Draft October 2008 Municipal Service Review Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 17 San Luis Obispo LAFCO
  • The fire department, including equipment, staffing, training, and geographic distribution of fire companies.
  • The water supply system, including the condition and maintenance of hydrants, and a careful evaluation of the amount of available water compared with the amount needed to suppress fires. In 1984 the rating for the town was eight. In 2008, the Public Protection Classification (PPC) is rated a six (6) from the Insurance Service Office. This rating is used by insurance companies to assess risks and determine rates. When upgrades to the water system are completed, the District may apply for a re-evaluation of this classification. Automatic and Mutual Aid. The automatic and mutual aid agreements enable the Santa Margarita Fire Department and CALFIRE to respond to emergency calls in an effective and expedient manner. Automatic Aid is when an agency is automatically dispatched to respond to an emergency call that is within the area designated in the automatic aid agreement. Under this arrangement, the station that is closest to the incident automatically responds to a call. Automatic Aid is defined in the Santa Margarita Fire Department Standard Operating Procedure as follows: An Auto Aid Call is one that takes place in Santa Margarita’s Secondary Response Area, as defined by the agreement with CDF (CALFIRE). At this time it is from the Top of Cuesta Grade to Santa Barbara Road, Tassajara Creek Road, El Camino Real to Walnut Ave., in Garden Farms, and Highway 58 out to the Salinas Bridge, also 1 mile out Pozo Road. This area is general in nature and dispatch will dictate response to these areas.

The Automatic-Aid Agreement covers a number of operational procedures including; Jurisdictional responsibility, Areas of Response, Guidelines Governing Response to an Emergency, Types of Response, Communications and Dispatch, Resource Availability, and Joint Training. Mutual Aid is when a jurisdiction calls another agency to assist in an emergency response. This coverage allows for faster and adequate emergency response to locations within Santa Margarita and the surrounding area. Mutual Aid is defined in the Santa Margarita Fire Department Standard Operating Procedure as follows: A Mutual Aid Call is one that takes place in San Luis Obispo County and the surrounding area, as defined by the Mutual Aid Agreement.

This area is general in nature and dispatch will dictate response to these areas. It can also be a move-up and cover assignment.

Mutual Aid is typically used to assist CALFIRE and other agencies in responding to a major incident or fire that requires the assistance of outside agencies.

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Public Review Draft October 2008 Municipal Service Review Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 18 San Luis Obispo LAFCO Department Equipment and Improvements. Over the last several years the SMFPD has successfully obtained grant funding for the purchase of a number of pieces of equipment. The Fire Department owns three vehicles and other equipment that are used to fight fires and respond to medical emergencies.

Table 2-1: Equipment Purchases with Grant Funding Equipment - Vehicle Amount Funding Source 2006 Wildland Equipment: Firefighter Personal Protective Equipment 15 Sets $324,000 Dept. of Homeland Security 2005 Seagrave Pumper Truck $215,000 Assistance to Firefighter Grant 2003 Firefighter Clothes/Turnouts SCBA’s Breathing Units & Air-Refill Unit $98,000 Assistance to Firefighter Grant The Department has upgraded the equipment, in particular the purchase of a 2005 Seagrave Pumper/Truck capable of pumping 1,500 gallons per minute with 750 gallon tank. The Truck is fully equipped with other firefighting equipment as well, including shovels and picks, generator light, infra-red camera to detect hot spots at fires, hoses and nozzles and extra air tanks.

The second pumper truck is a 1987 FMC with a pumping capacity of 1,250 gallons per minute and 700 gallon tank. The air refill station gives the District the capability of refilling the Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) tanks with breathable air at the station.

CALFIRE Website-Information Parkhill Fire Station 40 is an example of cooperative fire protection between CAL FIRE and San Luis Obispo County Fire Department. Located east of Santa Margarita, Station 40 houses two State Type III wildland fire engine, a County Type I fire engine and Type II water tender. Station 40 has a ‘high severity’ response area. This classification is due to the interface of homes and substantial brush. Parkhill firefighters respond automatic aid to most incidents in Santa Margarita, as well as incidents along Highway 101 between the Cuesta Grade and the City of Atascadero.

Engine 40 is staffed by a Fire Captain and a Fire Apparatus Engineer. Engine 40 is supplemented by a 15 member Paid Call Firefighter company, who respond to all incidents via radio pager. Company 40 members are responsible for maintaining and responding Water Tender 40, a Type II water supply apparatus. Water Tender 40 plays an important role during fires due to the large amount of water it is able to mobilize. During the declared fire-season, Station 40 is home to Engine 3465, a Type III 4X4 wildland fire apparatus and Engine 3477, a conventional Type III wildland fire apparatus. Staffing on these engines includes one Company Officer/Operator and two or three Firefighter I’s.

Engine’s 3465/3477 responds to many of the same calls as Medic Engine 40, as well as most vegetation fires in throughout San Luis Obispo County. The 4X4 capabilities of Engine 3465 allow for greater access in the rural areas

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Public Review Draft October 2008 Municipal Service Review Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 19 San Luis Obispo LAFCO Engine’s 3465/3477 staffing usually starts in mid-May and ends during mid-November. Wintertime months when Engines 3465/3477 is not staffed, the engine is available for crews to respond when needed. Station 40 is Battalion 14 headquarters station, home to Battalion Chief 3414. Table 2-2: Response Vehicles Station 40 Battalion 3414 Cheverlot Pickup 4X4 Parkhill Engine 40 HME/Westates Water Tender 40 International/West Mark 2,500 Gallon Engine 3465 International/West Mark Engine 3477 International/West Mark Utility 3454 Station 41, La Panza Located on the eastern side of San Luis Obispo County along Highway 58, Las Tablas Station 35 is operation each summer during declared fire season.

La Panza sits near the northern edge of Los Padres National Forest, and periodically responds to incidents in or near the Forest. Station 41 often responds to off-road motorcycle and ATV accidents within the Los Padres National Forest. Station 41 staffing includes a Fire Captain/Operator and two or three firefighters. Station 41 responds on a CAL FIRE ICS Type-III four wheel drive fire engine.

Table 2-3: Response Vehicles Station 41 La Panza Engine 3468 International/West Mark DETERMINATIONS 1. The District is presently cable of responding to emergencies within its existing service area and to areas within the Automatic Aid Agreements. 2. The Districts response capability may be challenged if the development plans for the Santa Margarita Ranch are implemented prior to the construction of another Fire Station as called for in the Draft Program EIR. 3. Future development of the Santa Margarita Ranch will increase the number of first response calls the District is required to respond to based on automatic aid agreements.

The number of calls outside the District has increased in the last three3 years.

4. The District will need to analyze its existing response capability and the potential for future emergency responses. This review should evaluate any gaps in service that need to be addressed depending on the extent of the development proposed. 5. The lack of specificity in terms of the proposed Ranch Development makes the impacts to the District’s response capability uncertain.

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Public Review Draft October 2008 Municipal Service Review Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 20 San Luis Obispo LAFCO Factor 3: Financial ability of agency to provide services This section provides an overview of the Santa Margarita Fire Protection District financial ability to provide services.

Budget. The Annual Audits indicate that budgets are prepared by the District each year. The District provided budgets for the four fiscal years shown below. The budgets show all of the expenditures proposed by the SMFPD with the exception of grants and capital equipment purchases. The annual budget is approved by the District’s Board of Directors and is revised during the year to account for unanticipated income and expenditures. The total expenditures has remained stable over the last four years with no significant increases in the day-to-day operational budget. This can be seen in the chart below: The County of San Luis Obispo maintains the general ledger and prepares the budgetary financial statements for the District.

The revenues for the District includes Property Taxes, Grant Income, Donations, Interest Income, Transfers from other agencies, and miscellaneous income. Grants may be accounted for in one year and spent the next year which is the reason for an accumulation of fund balance in 2005 and the increased expenditures in 2006. The funds are eventually spent for the purpose of the grant. The fund balance at the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 2007, was $164,440. The District’s reserve balance is deposited with the State Treasurers Office in a Pooled Money Investment Account under the Local Agency Investment Fund (LAIF).

This is a Figure 2-3: Santa Margarita FPD Adopted Budgets 2005-2009 $79,990 $78,299 $78,299 $77,381 $0 $20,000 $40,000 $60,000 $80,000 $100,000 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 Thousands Adopted Budget

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Public Review Draft October 2008 Municipal Service Review Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 21 San Luis Obispo LAFCO common practice for special districts in managing their reserves. The chart below shows the Fund Balance/Reserves for 2005, 06, and 07. Annual Audits. For at least the past three years the Annual Audits were conducted by Crosby & Cindrich, Certified Public Accounts, A Professional Corporation based in San Luis Obispo. This company has been performing audits for a variety of clients for over 25 years. They have been used by the SMFPD for a number of years and completed the 2005, 2006 and 2007 audits reviewed in this report.

The Independent Auditor’s Reports for fiscal years 2005, 2006, and 2007 were compiled from the County Auditor’s Office. The Chart below shows the actual expenditures and revenues for those years: Figure 2-4: Santa Margarita FPD Fund Balance/Reserve Funds 2005-2007 317,000 114,000 164,000 $0 $100,000 $200,000 $300,000 $400,000 2005 2006 2007 Dollars Fund Balance/Reserves Figure 2-5: Santa Margarita FPD Revenues-Expenditures 2005-2007 $0 $100,000 $200,000 $300,000 $400,000 $500,000 2005 2006 2007 Thousands Revenues Expenses

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Public Review Draft October 2008 Municipal Service Review Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 22 San Luis Obispo LAFCO These audits also provide for an independent third party review of the SMFPD’s financial statements and status. The Independent Auditor found that the Financial Statements prepared by the SMFPD were consistent with State and Federal accounting principals and requirements. According to the auditor, no financial misstatements were found and materials were presented fairly and in conformity with generally accepted accounting principals. The Independent Auditor makes a number of “Notes” regarding the financial statements. These Notes intend to objectively identify and assess accounting policies, Cash and Investments, Property Taxes, Notes Receivable, Capital Assets, Long-Term Debt, and other financial issues related to the SMFPD. The Annual Audits contain several pieces of information that are important in reviewing the financial health of the SMFPD:
  • Extent of Long Term Debt/Loans
  • Identification of any unfavorable financial issues or practices (none were identified)
  • Level of fund balance/reserves and use of reserves
  • Compliance with GASB (Governmental Accounting Standards Board) regulations According to the 2007 Annual Audit the SMFPD is currently able to meet its financial obligations and maintain a fund balance fund of approximately $164,000. The reserve fund fluctuates depending on the incoming revenues and outgoing expenditures. The Chart below shows the principal of the long-term debt incurred by the SMFPD. The District has made all payments associated with these bonds and loans in timely manner. These debts were incurred in 2001, 2004, and 2006 through loans with Coast National Bank. The loans were secured using equipment and real property as security. The 2006 loan appears to consolidate the prior loans.

Figure 2-6: Santa Margarita FPD Long Term Debt 2005-2007 118,000 112,000 104,000 $0 $50,000 $100,000 $150,000 $200,000 2005 2006 2007 Thousands Long Term Debt

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Public Review Draft October 2008 Municipal Service Review Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 23 San Luis Obispo LAFCO Determinations 1. The SMFPD is financially capable of providing services to its existing customers within the current service area. 2. Annexation by the District of surrounding ranch areas would be complicated by the need for a funding source.

Typically, Fire Districts are funded using a small portion of the property tax. In order to annex properties the SMFPD would need to negotiate an agreement with the County that would transfer funds to the District. 3. Annual Audits indicate that expenditures do not exceed revenues, fund balance is available, and that the District pays off its long term debt on a regular basis. 4. The SMFPD could be financially impacted by future development of the Santa Margarita Ranch. No plans or policies regarding the increase in emergency responses due to future development outside the District’s service area were identified in this service review.

The District could be the First Responder to many of the areas identified for ranch development.

5. The SMFPD has long-term debts that are being paid on a regular basis. The District has made its payments in a timely manner. 6. The SMFPD works with Federal, State, and County Agencies to secure grants to pay for equipment and facility improvements. 7. The SMFPD should consider adopting policies/guidelines that outline the process and procedures for preparing the budget each year with the intent of clearly identifying the steps taken to develop and adopt the budget.

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Public Review Draft October 2008 Municipal Service Review Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 24 San Luis Obispo LAFCO Factor 4. Status of, and opportunity for, shared facilities In the case of developing areas around the SMFPD, LAFCO can evaluate whether services or facilities can be provided in a more efficient manner if both the SMFPD and County share these responsibilities. In some cases, it may be possible to establish a more cooperative approach to facility planning by encouraging the SMFPD, the County and CALFIRE to work cooperatively in providing services. The SMFPD works cooperatively with a number of agencies and organizations to maintain and improve the the level of service for the residents of Santa Margarita. The SMFPD has worked with the following agencies, groups and organizations to provide service to the community of Santa Margarita:
  • CALFIRE, State of California
  • County of San Luis Obispo
  • County Public Works Department-County Service Area 23
  • Santa Margarita Area Advisory Council The District has successfully obtained grants through state and federal sources. These grants have funded the purchase of new equipment and vehicles. Determinations 1. The SMFPD shares in the procurement, maintenance and operation of various facilities and equipment.

2. The SMFPD works to maintain effective relationships with community groups and agencies to facilitate the provision of emergency response services. 3. The development of areas within the SMFPD service boundary may lead to shared infrastructure with the County; i.e. roads and streets (a County function), Sheriff, parks and recreational facilities. Close coordination is encouraged.

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Public Review Draft October 2008 Municipal Service Review Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 25 San Luis Obispo LAFCO Factor 5.

Accountability for community service needs including governmental structure and operational efficiencies LAFCO may consider the agency’s record of local accountability in its management of community affairs as a measure against the ability to provide adequate services to the SOI areas. 1. Does the District strive to involve the public in decision-making? The SMFPD involves the public in the decision-making process by complying with the Brown Act open meeting law. The SMFPD meeting agendas are posted at its office. Meetings are conducted according to the Brown Act and the SMFPD By-Laws require compliance with Brown Act as well.

2. Does the District facilitate local media coverage and public information programs? The SMFPD does not send its agendas to the local media: newspapers, radio and television. Public noticing as required by law is completed by the SMFPD. 3. Are elected and appointed District members accessible and attentive to its constituency? The elected officials are accessible and responsive to their constituency. The SMFPD has regular meetings that are open to the public. 4. Are annual budget and audit reports available to the public? The Budget is public information and should be made available from the SMFPD upon request.

Determinations 1. The SMFPD appears to make reasonable efforts to maintain a public dialogue regarding issues and projects of concern to the community. 2. The SMFPD is accountable to the Community of Santa Margarita.

Santa Margarita Fire Protection District Public Review Draft October 2008 Municipal Service Review Santa Margarita Fire Protection District 26 San Luis Obispo LAFCO Factor 6. Any other matter related to effective or efficient service Delivery, as required by Commission policy No other matter has been raised to date.

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