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Special Election To Determine Future of Monterey Park Fire Department

Voters in Monterey Park will have to decide if they want to turn over the city’s fire services to the Los Angeles County Fire Dept. during a special election scheduled for July 2.

The city has been examining the practicality of such a change for years, often to the ire of local residents, especially the elderly who have said they fear such a change would result in slower response times.

If approved, Measure FF would amend the city’s Municipal Code and direct the city council to negotiate a contract that would transfer city-run fire services to the county.

The debate over the move has been going on in some form or another since 1989, according to documents Monterey Park staff submitted to the city council. Initially it was the county that proposed a contract with the city for fire services. That proposal was never approved.

Facing tighter budgets and escalating personnel costs, city officials in 2010 asked the county to submit a proposal detailing what it would cost to provide fire and paramedic services to Monterey Park. A 2011 feasibility study on the possible move was followed up with an independent analysis conducted by Emergency Services Consulting International (ECSI). A Fire Citizen Committee was formed in 2012 to review the findings, which were presented to the council last month. The city council approved the holding of a special election to bring the transfer issue to the voters.

Vote by mail ballots will be available starting June 3, but requests must be received by June 25. Eligible voters not already registered must do so by June 17 to vote in the special election.

Election materials will be mailed out next month.

For more information, call the city’s clerk’s office at (626) 307-1359.