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The original item was published from 3/16/2020 12:12:00 PM to 3/16/2020 12:23:57 PM.

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City Manager's Office

Posted on: March 5, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Special Edition Athertonian - Fire Services

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Fire Services in Atherton

Atherton residents contribute more than $18 million per year in property taxes to the Fire District for the provision of basic fire and emergency medical services. After completing a Fire Services Fiscal Review, the Town determined that the cost to provide basic fire and emergency medical services to the Town ranges from $4.6 million to $7.4 million. The difference between the revenue received and the cost to provide services results in a surplus of $10.9 million to $13.7 million per year to the Fire District. This revenue surplus has allowed the Fire District to purchase infrastructure, homes, equipment, fund high salaries, benefits, and overhead and subsidize services provided to other communities. It is projected that within the next 10 years, this surplus from Atherton residents will grow to as much as $20.9 million per year.

Options that the Town is considering include detachment from the Fire District prompting a redistribution of the property tax allocations and allowing the Town to contract directly for the provision of fire services at a fee more in line with expected costs; and/or a State legislative measure to redistribute property taxes allocations set under Proposition 13 and AB 8.

Download the Special Edition Athertonian Newsletter for more details on the issue and plan to attend one of two public information meetings seeking your input. 

Tuesday, March 24 - CANCELLED Wednesday, April 1 - CANCELLED 
6:30 pm to 8:30 pm6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

At the information sessions, the Town will provide background data and analysis completed as part of the Fire Services Fiscal Review, solicit input and discuss possible next steps. These next steps include further conversation with State legislators about the possibility of a legislative adjustment under Proposition 13 and AB 8 as well as the pursuit of a detachment effort through the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo).

The LAFCo process involves more detailed analysis of the current and potential cost of services, sources of revenue, environmental review, impact on other jurisdictions, and the plan for new services. The LAFCo process requires one or more public hearings as well as the possibility of a protest ballot process and election. There are costs involved with moving forward with detachment. These costs involve the completion of the application and studies required to submit the application to LAFCo. Most of that preliminary analysis has been completed as part of the Town’s Fire Services Fiscal Review; but additional work will be necessary. Those costs are not yet determined. More information on the Fire Services Study can be found on the Town’s website at

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