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Latest news and updates from Southern Marin Fire Protection District.

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Sausalito voters approved Measure D, a vote to transfer the city of Sausalito's fire services to the Southern Marin Fire Protection District in Tuesday's primary election. District Fire Chief Jim Irving said Wednesday that the annexation of Sausalito fire services should be implemented by July 1. The district has managed the city's fire services since 2004, but 15 firefighters had remained Sausalito city employees. Those firefighters will become district employees, bumping its payroll to 52 employees, Irving said. Sixty-three percent of Sausalito voters approved Measure D, which annexes the city's fire services to the fire district, which serves parts of unincorporated Mill Valley, as well as Strawberry and a small portion of Tiburon. Irving said that while the annexation won’t have any day-to-day impact on fire service for residents of unincorporated Mill Valley and Strawberry, they will see some benefits to the change. “It allows us to have a better grasp on what our future is so we can do more long-range planning,” he said. “It also gives a lot of staff time back in terms of managing two separate budgets and payrolls and that sort of thing.” That savings in staff time will allow the district to do more community outreach on issues like fire prevention and vegetation management, Irving said. “There will definitely be a benefit for our residents,” he said.

Southern Marin Fire Protection District has entered a new joint powers agreement with the Town of Corte Madera. Under the agreement, the two agencies will share personnel. Initially the two agencies will share a battalion chief position. The arrangement would save Corte Madera about $135,000 a year and Southern Marin approximately $60,000. The two agencies expect that as more chief officers retire, more positions will be shared.

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Sausalito voters will be able to weigh in on whether to merge the Sausalito Fire Department and Southern Marin Fire Protection District, but a date has not been set for an election. The Sausalito City Council — which received a briefing at its Tuesday meeting — has called a special meeting for March 9 to consider putting the matter to voters as soon as the June 5 primary election. The item also could also go to a mail-in ballot in late August or be put on the Nov. 6 ballot. The first step will be for the Local Agency Formation Commission to call for an election via a resolution at its March 8 meeting. Sausalito residents signed petitions to call for an election on the fire merger, which had been approved by the council and LAFCO.

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City Gate Associates have actively been working with the Southern Marin Fire Protection District and the City of Sausalito for over two years to help both parties move towards full consolidation.
 
In an effort to provide more information and an increase in public understanding, the company has made available their PowerPoint presentations which will help to educate the taxpayers on the hard numbers surrounding the consolidation effort.  It has always been the goal to provide a higher level of service to more people for less cost by eliminating repetitive overhead costs while increasing the training and effectiveness of the firefighters.

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The Marin Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) approved the annexation of the area of the City of Sausalito into the Southern Marin Fire Protection District. The annexation is not yet complete and must still go through a Public Protest phase. Registered voters or property owners within the Sausalito City limits may file a protest with LAFCO. If less than 25% of voters or property owner protest, LAFCO will likely certify the annexation in their January meeting and it will become effective soon after that. If more than 25%, but less than 50% file protests, the annexation question will go the Sausalito voters for approval. If more than 50% file protests, the annexation process is canceled. 

For more information on the annexation effort, you may click below.