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Plans Progress for New Orinda Fire Station

Orinda Planning Commission approved design; now MOFD will review the plan before approving construction. Timetable is completion by end of 2013.

With a design approved, a new fire station on Via Las Cruces, Orinda, awaits the fire district's long-range financial plan before the board will approve the construction phase.

On Sept. 25, the Orinda Planning Commission approved the Moraga-Orinda Fire District site plan and architectural design for the replacement of Fire Station 43, according to a news release from MOFD.

The district reported that it worked with area residents to ensure the design complemented the neighborhood. The proposed two-story fire station of about 5,000 square feet is due to be completed at the end of 2013. District staff is drafting a 13- to 15-year financial plan to address unfunded liabilities, capital equipment and infrastructure needs.

Gene G October 03, 2012 at 06:14 AM
@Bailey: Your colorful response to my comments didn't mask the fact that you were unable to suggest a less expensive alternative to the current plans for Station 43, or to deny that it is essential to protect the fire apparatus and personnel housed therein so they will be able to respond to YOUR emergency when it happens. You can check with MOFD to find out how they developed a capital fund specifically reserved for that kind of essential expenditure. And as for Steve Cohn's report, it is unfortunate that so much effort has been put into massaging a set of inaccurate data based on a false premise. Garbage in, garbage out.
Steve Cohn October 03, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Dr. Gottfried (@Gene G): 1) Orinda taxpayers have paid $8 million of parcel taxes to MOFD over the past 15 years. One of the express purpose for the creation of the Fire Flow Parcel Tax, according to the arguments in favor in the June 1997 voters pamphlet, was to "seismically repair our fire stations." Seismic retrofitting is not rocket science (I am a registered civil engineer and can opine on that). It does not require tearing down a structure of the stature of Station 43 and starting over. As director over a 6 year period (representing the Division where Station 43 is located) you had over $3 million dollars of Orinda Parcel Tax funds, which were supposed to be used solely in Orinda, at your disposal to fix this station. You did not. It must not have been that important then. Why, when the District is in deep financial stress to the extent that some think it might actually fall into bankruptcy, is it so important now? 2) Your "garbage in; garbage out" comment regarding the Task Force report. The Task Force used publicly available documents received from MOFD and other government agencies. Most of these documents are included as exhibits to the Task Force report on line (www.OrindaTaskForce.org). If those documents are flawed, please let the community know how they are inaccurate.
Eastofthehills October 03, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Bill Gross and Pimco are getting bond fund to return at ~6.9%-7% over the past 10 years (PTTRX). Furthermore there is no such thing as "guarenteed" even with T-Bill's and other long term "safe" investments you still run a significant inflation/interest rate/duration risk. Without getting into the specifics of fixed income analysis you could probably get a pretty good 5% to 7% return investing in fixed income assets alone. That being said you take on a basket of fixed income risks. Equities on the other hand will give inflation protection in most cases especially when you diversify into indexes. IF since 1988 I had invested $100 per year in the S&P 500 I would have ~81K right now. Now Imagine if you had invested $2000 you'd have $1.7M. Long term 7.75% overall isn't unrealistic with a mixed asset class. 12% probably is unless you talk aggressive equity or distressed debt.
Gene G October 03, 2012 at 11:29 PM
@Steve Cohn: 1) The fire flow taxes have indeed been dedicated to the purchase of essential capital equipment, seismic upgrades, etc.to make up for the poor state of the existing stuff when the Orinda district was turned over from Contra Costa Fire. The plans for rebuilding Station 43 were there from the beginning, though there were other even more urgent issues to address at that time. Your suggestion to do a seismic upgrade on Station 43 was also considered early on, but it was determined to be inadequate, as it would still leave a very old building with severe deficiencies (as I listed earlier). 2) You have consistently overestimated the extent of the long-term budget shortfall and undervalued the steps being taken to remedy it. Your repetition of the same stuff over and over again doesn't make it correct. I accept full responsibility for any errors or omissions that I made during my tenure as an MOFD director, but not for my lack of clairvoyance or my lack of authority over the rash pension policies of CCCERA.
Steve Cohn October 04, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Since MOFD was formed in 1997 the Consumer Price Index in the Bay Area has increased from 160 to 240. That is a 50 percent increase and an average annual increase of 2.74 percent. At the same time MOFD's tax revenue, exclusive of parcel taxes, has increased from $7.5 million to $16.3 million. That is a 120 percent increase and an average annual increase of 5.31 percent; twice the rate of inflation. Where has the money gone? 85 percent of MOFD's budget is for personnel compensation. I think where the money has gone is pretty clear; leaving not enough to even seismically strengthen what is probably our oldest station most in need. 15 years. No excuse. Now no funds are available to do this because of massive underfunded employee benefit liabilities due to poor pension asset performance which some say should have been anticipated. You say the Task Force has overstated MOFD's liabilities. I have asked MOFD multiple times for what their liabilities actually are. All they can provide is a single discounted value for 60 years of liabilities. The bottom line is they do not know what their liabilities are. So for you to say that the Task Force overestimates them is an opinion, not a fact. Unless you have the actual liabilities (in which case please share them with the entire community, including MOFD) do not claim that the Task Force has overestimated them.

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