Wasco Tribune - Serving the community since 1970

By Toni DeRosa
Wasco Tribune 

Fire cost-sharing eyed

Cities may seek KCFD alternative


Last updated 8/23/2020 at 6:06am | View PDF

With the cost of Kern County Fire Department service expected to rise, the city manager of Shafter suggested that his city and Wasco jointly seek alternatives to the KCFD with a cost-sharing agreement.

Wasco City Manager Daniel Ortiz-Hernandez said getting the Board of Supervisors to consider such an approach could be difficult. Ortiz-Hernandez also said a detailed evaluation needs to be done to determine exactly what services the fire department provides and to compare costs with private companies.

The City Council also addressed the purchase of the former farm labor camp. The council had anticipated it would complete the purchase this year after the new farm labor camp housing was completed and the former camp was empty of residents.

The city will finalize the purchase of the former farm labor camp from the Wasco Housing Authority for $100 once all the residents are relocated. The $100 isn’t a bargain for the city because it will cost between $5 million and $6 million to demolish the buildings. The city has been maintaining security and the grounds on the former camp site since the new camp was completed.

Ortiz-Hernandez said he asked the High Speed Rail Authority to pay for the demolition, but that they said no.

The council then voted unanimously to purchase the former farm labor camp with the sale to be finalized once it’s empty.

In other business, assistant city manager Mariana Sobolewski presented a resolution to be approved for a Wasco Small Business Covid-19 Relief Grant.

“The grant program would provide relief of $5,000 for businesses of more than five employees,” Sobolewski said. “Grant money can be used to reimburse the costs for business interruption.”

She also said small businesses that were recipients of the Federal Paycheck Protection Program and/or Kern Recovers Program are ineligible to receive a Small Business Covid-19 Relief Grant.

Grants of $1,000 would be available to small businesses that have fewer than five employees that have been deemed essential by the state.

For additional details, contact Sobolewski at 758-7214.

Additionally, the council unanimously adopted a resolution to enter into an agreement with Obaid Markets, which operates, Fiesta Supermarket, to give residents a local place where they can pay their utility bills. This will cost the city 18 cents per transaction.


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