On Tuesday evening, the Rough and Ready Fire District board of directors was presented with a recommendation to dissolve the district and pay off the mortgage on the fire station to retain the asset for the community.

A committee, composed of directors of both Rough and Ready and Penn Valley Fire departments, had been studying a way out of the district’s financial trouble since last September.

The committee found out pretty early on that consolidation with Penn Valley without funding is not doable and the funding is still not secured. Their projection of when they will have to change their operational model is coming up in June, according to Rough and Ready Director Doug Wittler who spoke during the Feb. 14th board meeting.

The committee’s report reads, in part:

Expediency for this process, if approved by the Board, should be a priority in consideration for possible Penn Valley Fire Board Annexation of the R&R Fire District.

It is also the committee’s recommendation that the R&R Fire Board pay off the remaining loan on the Fire Station so that this facility remains a functioning fire station that can continue to protect our town and surrounding areas.

The Committee also recommends efforts be put forth with continuing fund-raising events to help supply a much needed cash infusion to supplement the needs of this fire station.

The board’s formal resolution of dissolution is the basis to ask the Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCo) to officially remove the district boundaries and, at a later date, consider annexation proposals into a neighboring district. LAFCo’s responsibilities include the review and approval of the formation of public agencies, a change in boundaries of existing agencies, and other changes in organization of local agencies, such as consolidations and annexations. 

During this process, calls for service in the district will be answered by the neighboring agencies, Penn Valley, Consolidated and Grass Valley/Nevada City fire districts. These agencies are already covering the district during brown-out days when the lack of firefighters makes it impossible for Rough and Ready to respond to calls.

Penn Valley Fire Protection District and Nevada County Consolidated Fire District both have expressed their willingness to work together and ensure seamless coverage of the circa 700 parcels in the Rough and Ready District.

A special Rough and Ready Fire Board meeting will be held next Monday, March 20th at 10 a.m. to accept the Committee’s recommendation and vote on the dissolution of the district.