SAN BERNARDINO - The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors voted to streamline the county fire department by consolidating 27 separate districts into one.

That district will be divided into four regional zones to help make management more effective.

A Local Agency Formation Commission meeting held in February at Apple Valley Town Hall laid out the specifics of the plan.

"Over time they were created to fit specific needs in those areas," said Kathleen Rollings-McDonald of the separate districts at that meeting.

At a workshop held Tuesday after the county board meeting, a vote was conducted to consolidate the districts.

But the county and LAFCO disagreed on one aspect of the proposal.

Supervisors denied a request by LAFCO to allocate $8.3 million annually for the county fire department.

The supervisors, however, took the position that budgetary decisions should be decided by the board.

"It's going to make it a lot easier," said North Desert Division Chief Tim Wessel "It's going to give me the ability to run the division in a way that it really hasn't been in the past."

Wessel said that it will make the business side of the department more streamlined without affecting current services.

"It's not going to change staffing levels in any way, shape or form," Wessel said.
It will also give them the opportunity to meet with communities about what specific needs they may have, Wessel added.

The proposal would create a fire district encompassing 18,000 square miles and will go to LAFCO for final consideration on Wednesday.

If approved, the agency would be divided into four regional subdistricts - Valley, Mountain, North Desert and South Desert.