Brea subscribers: JPA vote scheduled at tonight’s council meeting

Your attendance is requested at this evening’s Brea City Council meeting.

The Brea Council will vote tonight on whether to enter into a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) with the City of Fullerton in anticipation of merging their fire departments and possibly other municipal services.

Ideas of this nature might otherwise be welcomed as good approaches toward reducing costs to the taxpayers of both cities, but unfortunately this is very premature. Fullerton and Brea are still waiting for a JPA Feasibility Study discussing wages, pensions, staffing levels, and many other things for a full merger of the fire departments. The study is not yet complete and we have literally no information about potential cost savings that a JPA might provide.

In fact, the JPA could prove to be more expensive. We just don’t know. As a new government agency, the JPA — whose Board of Directors will be unelected and appointed by each City Council — will have the ability to hire employees, acquire property, incur debt, and issue revenue bonds without voter approval.

When pressed for specifics at the last Fullerton City Council meeting, Fullerton-Brea Fire Chief Wolfgang Knabe admitted they were exploring taking over ambulance services and staffing them, in part, with paramedics from each city. Ambulance services are currently provided to both cities under contract from the private sector. It now appears the JPA will be trying to capitalize on ambulance fees as a new source of revenue. Any remaining revenue necessary to support the JPA functions will have to come from the general funds of each city.

The liberal majority of the Fullerton City Council (Fitzgerald, Flory, and Chaffee) already voted 3-2 to approve the JPA at its last meeting, so the only way to stop this JPA from becoming a reality is to pressure the Brea City Council to vote NO at tonight’s meeting.

— Excerpted from information provided by the North Orange County Conservative Coalition.

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