Dry Creek Rancheria agreement enhances fire services
The Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians and the Geyserville Fire District have reached an intergovernmental agreement to enhance existing fire services on the Rancheria and in the surrounding community, Sonoma County 4th District Supervisor Mike McGuire announced Monday.
As a result, a new Tribal Fire Station will be constructed on the Rancheria. Fire staffing will be provided by Geyserville Fire employees and supported by the Tribal Fire Chief and Tribal Fire reserves.
This new agreement was negotiated by the Geyserville Fire District and Dry Creek Rancheria Board of Directors, with support by McGuire.
“This new agreement builds upon the existing successful model of shared services and will provide enhanced fire and emergency services for both the Geyserville and Alexander Valley communities and the Rancheria,” said McGuire. ”This agreement came about because of the great work of Tribal Chair Harvey Hopkins and members of the tribe’s board of directors, as well as Geyserville Fire District Chief Paul Pigoni and the Fire District Board.
“The tribe will build a new fire station on the Rancheria, and continue funding the Geyserville District to staff the stations. This represents a huge win for the North County, River Rock Casino and the Rancheria.”
Dry Creek Rancheria Chair Harvey Hopkins added, “This new contract assures that we protect our residents, patrons and the lives and property of the community. That is our top priority. Working in partnership with the Geyserville Fire District, we will continue to maintain the quality professional staffing provided by the district as well as construct a new tribal fire station on the Rancheria.
“In addition, qualified tribal members will be encouraged to participate in joint fire training with Geyserville Fire, opening new job opportunities for our members. I want to thank the Geyserville Fire District Board, Chief Pigoni and Supervisor McGuire for their efforts.”
The Tribe has paid Geyserville Fire Protection District $28,000 a month since Dec. 31, 2003, in an agreement made for fire services. Dry Creek requested the expired nine-year-old agreement be reviewed.
Through collaborative discussions with the tribe’s board of directors, Chief Pigoni, Geyserville Fire Board members and the County of Sonoma, an intergovernmental agreement was reached to continue the monthly payments while extending and enhancing fire services.
Geyserville Fire District Chief Paul Pigoni said, “The residents and visitors to the North County will directly benefit from this agreement. We will have increased response capacity, new facilities and stronger training programs for our volunteers, which, supplemented by our paid staff, guarantee excellent fire services. This is a victory for all involved, and I want to thank the tribe and the county for their hard work on this important issue.”
Over the next 90 days, the two entities will move through a transitional period. During the transition the Tribal Fire Chief will seek volunteer fire fighters to for the Tribal Station. If Geyserville needs to provide additional employees there, the tribe has agreed to fund them.
The Tribe has already hired its fire chief and purchased three fire trucks for the new station, which should be completed early in November. The tribe’s first class of volunteer fire fighters will graduate from state-certified training Sept. 8.