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YOUR HOMETOWN WEEKLY NEWSPAPER ward Winning News al A pa Vol. 11, No. 44 Including Surrounding Communities City approves local fire board by Rick Lemyre Staff Writer The Brentwood City Council joined the County Board of Supervisors (BOS) and the Oakley City Council in voting Tuesday to provide local control over fire protection in far East County. By a 4-1 vote – Councilman Brandon Richey dissenting – the Brentwood council approved the creation of a locally based governing board for the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD). “This is the necessary next step for us to get the kind of resources needed to protect our population and protect our first-responders,” resident Steven Smith told the council prior to its vote. The new board will consist of nine members chosen proportionally according to the population of the areas within the district. Four will come from Brentwood, three from Oakley and two from the unincorporated areas of Knightsen, Bethel Island, Byron and Discovery Bay. The ECCFPD is currently run by the BOS in Martinez. The district was created in 2002, consolidating the Bethel Island, East Diablo and Oakley-Knightsen fire protection districts into one district to serve all of far East County. Because it is comprised of what used to be volunteer districts, the district receives only 7 percent of the property tax paid by its residents, while fire districts elsewhere in the county get about 12 percent. As a result of the under-funding, ECCFPD engines have only two firefighters aboard instead of the industry standard three, and neither is a paramedic. Wages are also higher in other areas. In casting his “no” vote, Richey said the BOS was simply handing the problem off. “The Board of Supervisors has been able to pass the see Fire page 18A Jeepers creepers rs Na t pe ion October 30, 2009 THIS WEEK Be sure to set your clocks back Saturday night and grab an extra hour of sleep. Standard time takes effect at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1. Gateway to controversy The proposed 2-Gates project drew flak from skeptical – and vocal – Delta residents. Page 3A Photo by Richard Wisdom ax Dewolf and his googly peepers were ready for their close-up at Brentwood’s Hometown Halloween event last weekend. The annual ode to All Hallow’s Eve attracted thousands of ghosts and goblins to downtown businesses, which handed out free treats and maybe even a few tricks. For more on the happy hauntings, see the story on page 15A. M Patriots bowl over Lions Council OKs garage, holds off on trash by Rick Lemyre Staff Writer Taking advantage of savings already realized on the new downtown civic center, the City Council Tuesday voted to proceed immediately with the construction of a parking structure that was scheduled for the project’s second phase. The structure, designed to sit between the new city hall and the new community building, was pulled from the project’s first phase last year during more uncertain economic conditions. But when the first phase of the project came in $16.4 million less than anticipated, the council was presented with a chance to build it in phase one of the project. Director of Finance and Information Systems Pam Ehler said the first-phase sav- “I am incredibly convinced we can provide exceptional service and save the city a lot of money. ” Austin Weaver ings amounted to $11.4 million from the General Fund and $5 million from the Redevelopment Agency. She told the council that it should be possible to build the garage with the General Fund money alone. Resident Steve Barr, after congratulating the council on being able to put the project’s first phase together so affordably, nevertheless encouraged it to hold off on the parking structure. Not enough was known about the future parking needs to determine if it would be better to build the civic center garage now or spend the savings on a parking structure closer to the center of downtown. Councilman Erick Stonebarger agreed with Barr, saying he didn’t think the civic center location “was the right spot.” Councilman Bob Brockman, however, said the more centrally located structure was more of a commercial project – it has been envisioned to include first-floor retail – that would require time to put together, and time was of the essence on the civic center. Groundbreaking is scheduled for Nov. 10, and the contractor, Lathrop Construction, needs to know how it will proceed. Mayor Bob Taylor said it would be too disruptive to build the bulk of the civic center now, and then go back in to add the garage later on. The garage had been a part of the overall design from the start, he said, and since it would eventually be needed, it should be built now. The council voted 3-2 to proceed; Councilman Brandon Richey and Stonebarger dissented. The construction will be managed by Lathrop and the various elements of the job will be put out to bid. In other business, the council voted unanimously to take up an offer from the Pittsburg Transfer Station to do a new analysis of the city’s solid waste disposal needs, free of charge to the city. The council was set Due to circumstances beyond Liberty’s control, the Brentwood Bowl trophy will stay on display at Heritage for yet another year. see Garage page 18A FOR MOVIE TIMES SEE PAGE 5A Page 1B INSIDE Calendar ..........................27B Classifieds ........................17B Cop Logs ..........................14A Entertainment ................13B Food .................................14B Health & Beauty .............10B Milestones ......................... 9B Opinion ...........................13A Sports ................................. 1B Talk About Town ..............5A WebExtras! ....................... 1B

Brentwood Press_10.30.09

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