South County Fire Authority
On September 16, 1999, after decades of talks and two previously unsuccessful attempts, the City of Tracy Fire Department merged with the Tracy Rural Fire Protection District forming the South County Fire Authority (SCFA). The SCFA was created to provide fire protection services to the entire jurisdictional area of both the corporate city limits and surrounding rural community. Employees of the Tracy Rural Fire District became employees of the City of Tracy with the City of Tracy maintaining day to day administrative control of the department.
Leading up to the merger, the city was experiencing rapid growth and development, creating a need to construct new fire stations in order to meet response times. At the same time, rural firefighters found themselves having to respond to several emergency calls by driving through the city limits, frequently passing right in front of city fire stations along the way. It was obvious that a consolidation could significantly lower response times, eliminate the duplication of resources and provide better overall services. It was apparent that having improved staffing levels and a “streamlined” organization would benefit both sides, and more importantly, those residing in the communities of Tracy.
South County Fire Authority
Both Tracy Rural and the City of Tracy contract with the SCFA to receive fire protection services. The SCFA in turn contracts with the City of Tracy to provide employees and administrative services. The department also protects the community of Mountain House. Mountain House is a master planned community services district which contracts for fire protection services with the Tracy Rural Fire District who in turn contracts to the SCFA.
The SCFA is directed by a four person Joint Powers Authority (JPA) Board. This board is comprised of two members appointed by the Tracy Rural Fire District Board and two members appointed by the Tracy City Council. Meetings of the SCFA are typically held on a quarterly basis or as the Authority directs. The Chief Executive Officer of the SCFA is the City Manager of Tracy while the Controller/Treasurer is the City’s Finance Director. The SCFA has the power to enter into contracts, retain consultants, incur debt, receive grants, invest and carry out all provisions of the fire services agreement.
The consolidation of fire services in our area has proven to be a success. Since 1999 the entire community has been served by the closest available unit to their emergency. No longer do boundaries prohibit the customer from receiving the best service possible. The commitment to quality fire protection services remains the priority of the member agencies of the South County Fire Authority. This commitment is shared by the men and women of the department who have the privilege of providing these services.