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McFarland fire services negations continue with KCFD

Posted at 6:24 PM, Jun 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-18 21:24:34-04

BAKERSFIELD,Calif. — The City of McFarland is in a standstill with the Kern County Fire Department over their fire services to their city.

On Monday, the Kern County Grand Jury released their findings and recommendations on the situation.

The two organizations met on Tuesday to work on a future agreement for the needed fire services in McFarland.

“It’s very important to me and our firefighters to protect the citizens of McFarland,” said Witt.

Officials say the issue is the current lack of a contract with County Fire and McFarland’s need to pursue funding.

“The contract expires July 1,” Witt said.

The county says McFarland owes them about $800,000 for the last two years of fire services. According to the grand jury's report, McFarland believes they don’t owe money, because the payments were not written into the finalized agreement due to an oversight in the contract.

The city says there is nowhere in the fine print, that was found that it would have to pay.

In discussions with city officials, McFarland faces a dilemma in the area of annexation. They need to annex business-zoned areas in order to acquire additional tax income, but they cannot do this without fire protection, and they cannot afford additional fire protection because they do not have enough income.

The report suggests McFarland pass a utility tax by the next general election to fund the fire department

The grand jury report says that McFarland is considering creating its own fire department.