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Valley of the Moon fire board expected to OK new fee schedule

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The Valley of the Moon Fire Protection District board is expected to approve a new fee schedule at tonight’s meeting.

Some of the new fees will be lower than the last fee schedule adopted in 2011, but some fees will be going up.

Sonoma Valley Fire and Rescue Authority Chief Phil Garcia said the fee schedule needed to be adjusted because the fire district has taken over the fire prevention services that the county used to offer.

As an example, fees that are going down include plan review, from $145 an hour to $126 an hour; field inspections, from $140 an hour to $126 an hour; false fire alarm response, from $500 an incident to $178 an incident; and file searches, from $85 an hour to $65 an hour.

Among the fees going up are response to incident involving an impaired driver, from $500 an incident to $419 an hour; state regulated building inspection, from $112 an hour to $126 an hour; inspection for a large family day care, from $112 an hour to $126 an hour; required operational permits from $65 to $85, and file report copy charges from $3 a page to $6 a page.

“The county had the responsibility for the fire prevention services, and now we’re taking them over,” Garcia said. “So instead of paying the county, residents will be paying the district.”

Besides, Garcia said, the city periodically updates its fee schedule and the new fee schedule will be the same for both the city and the Valley of the Moon Fire Protection District, which is the governing body in the joint powers agreement.

“We didn’t have an effective fee schedule,” Garcia explained.

Garcia said that since the fire protection authority has taken over the county fire protection services, it has a better sense of what’s going on in the community.

The Sonoma Valley Fire and Rescued Authority covers an area of about 31.5 square miles, with about 33,000 residents from Temelec and Seven Flags on the south, to Madrone Road on the north.

Last month, the fire board ordered two new engines at a cost of around $430,000. Garcia said it will take about a year for the engines to be delivered. “I think we’ll have them by next Thanksgiving,” he said.

Garcia said the department replaces its engines about every 20-plus years. “We maintain our engines well,” he added.

Once the new engines are delivered, the district will probably put one of the used engines up for sale, while hanging on to a second engine. “We’ll put it in reserve in case we need an extra engine or one is out of service,” he said.

The Valley of the Moon Fire Protection board meeting is set for 6 p.m. today, Tuesday, Dec. 10, at the Sonoma Valley Fire and Rescue Authority Station #3, 1 W. Agua Caliente Road. The meeting is open to the public.