Borrego Sun - Since 1949

By Kim Simas 

Is It Really Over?

 

Last updated 10/3/2019 at 11:46am



After several months of heated discussions throughout the community, Julian’s fire district issue is just about wrapped up.

The signs are gone from the center of town and the back and forth messages on Facebook have dissipated.

Different viewpoints on a situation can definitely spur conversations however the issue of the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire District (JCFPD) dissolving was a bit too polarizing for the small town.

It all began in 2013 with the question of the JCFPD experiencing financial issues. Board members at the time and the County of San Diego started conversations about the possibility of dissolving the volunteer fire district.

Due to the community’s resistance, the discussion ended and the fire district continued to remain independent. With backing from residents, the fire district grew in volunteer base, reserves and quality of assets.

Under a new board of directors, the County once again approached JCFPD about the possibility of taking over the fire district to assist the agency financially.

The matter was put in front of voters through Measure QQ which called for a special tax for Julian residents. Once again, the community turned down the idea.

The Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) adopted a resolution to dissolve the JCFPD and allow the County to assume services. To block LAFCO’s resolution, the community petitioned to have Measure A added to the ballot however, the measure ultimately passed allowing for the dissolution.

To stop the dissolution of the volunteer fire district, JCFPD then filed a lawsuit to declare the LAFCO proceedings as illegal. In the midst of all of the legal strife, there were accusations of Brown Act violations by former board members, invalid votes and misconduct by LAFCO. JCFPD volunteers barricaded themselves in the station, moved financial assets and allegedly hid a fire engine.

Fast forwarding a few months, there have been several court appearances, allegations thrown about and eventual calm. The supposedly misplaced fire engine was located, tempers have cooled and financial assets have been cleared to remain with the JCFPD. CALFire is responding to calls in Julian and providing the protection that the community needs.

As it stands now, there is another court date looming in the distance. The upcoming court appearance may include the final ruling in this case.

What remains to be seen is if the issue of the station located on Highway 79 and the land that it sits on will be included in the discussion.

For the moment, the lack of negative discussions about the fire district and CALFire is refreshing. Seeing the volunteer fire district being disbanded is sad as it feels as though the history of the brave men and women in the community may be forgotten. However, many in Julian will remain forever grateful for their service.

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