Skip to main content

Sustainability Initiative for Fire Services - Frequently Asked Questions

Sustainability Initiative for Fire Services - Frequently Asked Questions

The CSD is conducting numerous outreach efforts to obtain feedback from Cameron Park residents about services and priorities.  The questions below reflect questions asked during the outreach activities, and the CSD’s response. 

The FAQs are a living document that will be updated as new questions are asked.  New content will be listed first in the FAQs and dated.  Please check back often for updates.  If you have a question, please email  


Updated January 2, 2024 FAQs

1) Knowing that there is overhead to secure and maintain Firewise status, will this goal be in jeopardy?

Answer: The annexation efforts and potential change from CalFire does not put this goal in jeopardy. The local Fire Department can assist the community in becoming a Firewise community, but it needs to start at the local community level. You can find more information at the following link:

El Dorado County Office of Wildfire Preparedness and Resilience is another entity that can assist the community in reaching this goal. There is more information at the following link:


2)  At previous meetings it was discussed that grants could be available, and it sounded like there were knowledgeable/experienced people in this field who could possibly do this. Has this, or is this, being pursued?

Answer: Yes, grant funding has been pursued. Cameron Park and CalFire applied for the SAFER Grant and two separate Assistance to Firefighters Grants. Unfortunately, on 12/7/23 we were notified the Cameron Park Fire Department was not selected for any of the Grants. The CSD and CalFire will apply again when grant periods are re-opened in 2024.


3) Is there financial jeopardy to the Cameron Park CSD if annexed by a local fire agency for Cal Fire response costs in a Local Response Area?

Answer: No. CAL FIRE has authority and responsibility for wildland fire protection on State Responsibility Ara lands and Local Government Agencies have authority and responsibility for wildland fire protection on Local Responsibility Area lands.  The Cameron Park CSD contains both lands.  Because CAL FIRE is currently Cameron Park’s Fire Department, CAL FRE has assumed the responsibility for protecting the Local Responsibility Area in Cameron Park along with the State Responsibility Area.  If CAL FIRE were no longer the Fire Department in Cameron Park, the fire agency who annexed fire services would assume responsibility for the Local Responsibility Area lands.  CAL FIRE, specifically the Amador El Dorado Unit would then work with the new fire agency (like we do with every local jurisdiction within our Unit’s boundaries) on efficient ways to do this.


4) Why is Station 88 not considered an “Industry standard fire station”? Why is Station 88 only considered a ‘volunteer’ station?

Answer: The living quarters at Station 88 are only 1080 sq ft plus the apparatus bay. Station 88 was built for a fire department that has since changed dramatically over the years. For example, fire station personnel now live at the station for a minimum of 72 hours a week and Station 88 lacks some of the basic amenities and space that you would find in a normal home.


5) Why was there an increase in fire personnel expenses totaling approximately $1 million per year?

Answer: The Cooperative Fire Protection Agreement with CAL FIRE for Fiscal Year 2023/24 has one additional position to assist with fire engine staffing.  Three of the Fire Apparatus Engineer positions were also upgraded to Fire Apparatus Engineer paramedic positions. Additional cost increases are due to increases in employee benefit costs and negotiated for salary increases.

It should be noted that while the budgeted “Do Not Exceed” amount increased for the reasons identified above, CAL FIRE only bills the CSD for actual costs which in many years is under budget in varying amounts. The difference between the budgeted amount and the actual costs is then available to the CSD for other purposes.  


6)  Can Cameron Park use volunteer firefighters?

Answer: Yes, Cameron Park can use volunteer firefighters but there are challenges with this model. Volunteer firefighters are a great way to connect the fire department to the community and they can be a force multiplier to the professional fire protection that the CSD currently employs.  However, the use of volunteer firefighters has declined across the country and one of the biggest challenges with maintaining a volunteer firefighter workforce is the volunteer firefighters must have the same basic training as career firefighters along with continual training. This is difficult for community members to maintain with their already busy lives.


Ambulance Service Questions:

7)  The ambulance system is fire based. 80% of the calls to the fire station are EMS. Cameron Park gave up its ambulance to the JPA and through an RFP the ambulance was awarded to El Dorado Hills Fire. El Dorado Hills will be housing the ambulance at the Bass Lake Station which will increase response times by over 5 minutes to Cameron Park. How do you fix this change?

Answer: Ambulance services are provided under the authority of the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors through a contract with the Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA). This contract identifies mandated response times to all areas of El Dorado County regardless of where ambulances are stationed. The Emergency Medical Services Area is a Joint Powers Authority) that is governed by fire chiefs from Georgetown, Mosquito, Garden Valley, Pioneer, Rescue, Cameron Park, El Dorado Hills and El Dorado County fire. The ambulances operate through a system status management process and are deployed throughout the county based on that system. Each ambulance on the West Slope of El Dorado County is moved throughout the day depending on call volume and anticipated needs for service in order to meet the contractually obligated response times and best serve the residents. The ambulance that used to be housed at Station 89 was moved daily within this system on the West Slope of El Dorado County, meaning that on most days was not at Station 89 at various times throughout the day.


In addition, the fire engines stationed at Stations 88 and 89 are both Advanced Life Support Fire engines, meaning that there is always at least one Paramedic on each engine 24hrs a day 365 days a year. As a result, there will not be an increase in the amount of time it takes for an individual to receive medical care as the personnel on the Fire Engine provides the same level of care as the ambulances.


*Initial Post December 11, 2023 / Questions from November 9 Chamber of Commerce Town Hall Meeting

Questions related to CSD Finances & General Government


1) What are the reserve amounts for the Community Services District (CSD)?

Answer: The existing reserve amounts are:

-          Fire Reserves: $696,965

-          Facilities Reserves: $81,275 

In addition to above Reserve amounts, the Board of Directors allocates funding from the general fund and special funds for acquisition, repair and maintenance of capital assets and projects, but these financial resources are not enough to protect the CSD’s assets into the future.  The Board of Directors’ goal is to establish capital reserves in the amount necessary to protect community assets such as the fire stations, fire engines, community center and parks’ infrastructure.  To establish reserves, funding must be secured through additional grant opportunities, voter-approved tax assessments or by decreasing CSD services and diverting funding to a reserve account.


2) What is the current budget deficit?

Answer: In the current fiscal year (2023/24), the CSD is using approximately $500,000 in reserves to maintain existing services while alternative service options and service levels are explored.


3) Is the CSD financially stable?

Answer: Yes. The CSD is currently able to fund all of our obligations and currently is financially stable. However, based on future year budget projections which anticipate revenue growth as well as increasing costs, the CSD will not be able to maintain the existing levels of service provided for fire, parks, recreation and the community center.  In addition, there is a lack of funding for future maintenance and repairs of CSD’s capital assets such as fire stations, fire engines, park restrooms, and community center HVAC systems. 

The primary revenue source for the CSD is property tax revenue and unfortunately, those revenues are not growing at a pace that keeps up with increasing costs.


4) Is the CSD charging enough to cover the costs of the community center or is the CSD using revenues to subsidize the community center?

Answer: No, the operational costs of the community center are not fully offset with fees which is consistent with other agencies who operate community centers.

For example, many senior programs and senior nutrition lunches are offered as a benefit to seniors without full cost recovery.


5) What percentage of the CSD’s budget is allocated to Salaries and Benefits?

Answer: Salary and Benefit expenses for CSD employees are 16.65% of the District’s total budget. This does not include retiree health or unfunded CalPERS liabilities. 

Salary and Benefit expenses for Fire and Emergency Services are 58% of the District’s total budget.


6) Does the CSD have a competitive bid policy and process?

Answer: Yes, Policy 3100 Purchasing which is followed by the CSD. 

3100.Purchasing Expense Authorization rev 6.17.20.pdf


7) What is the government’s primary responsibility?

Answer: The CSD was formed in 1961 as a result of a successful petition and election. Upon its formation, CPCSD was authorized to provide fire protection and emergency services, parks and recreation, lighting and landscaping, CC&R administration, solid waste and weed abatement. In 1967, the Board of Directors approved Resolution 67-13 to provide fire protection as a primary function of the newly formed CSD.   The CPCSD Board of Directors is responsible for prioritizing each level of service and the amount of funding that is allocated to each service.


8) How is the CSD Board making sure public safety is their primary responsibility?

Answer: The Board is required to balance the needs of the CPCSD as described above. In early 2023 the Board was considering a recommendation to close Station 88 but declined to do so to maintain existing levels of public safety services. The efforts the Board is taking now relative to annexation is the best option to potentially avoid a reduction in public safety services in the long term.


9)  Please explain the difference between operating within RFPs/Contracts versus annexation, and why is annexation being explored when an RFP/Contract process is much faster.

Annexation: There are many differences between an RFP and resulting contract for services versus annexation. One of the primary differences is that for the most part, annexation efforts are a permanent change, while a contract for services has an end date.

Annexation, if successful, would remove this uncertainty and a new governing board would be created that would represent the interests of the entire new district.

The disadvantage with a contract for services, especially in areas such as fire protection, is the uncertainty it creates as contracts for both agencies must be awarded, re-negotiated and extended.  Hiring personnel for 2 stations is a significant amount of work, and if the contract were to not extend, that would mean laying off fire personnel.  Local fire agencies were not interested in a contract for services and preferred annexation.


10) What would annexation do in terms of local input/control?

Answer: This would be decided through discussions with representatives of each agency and is one of the main points of consideration to ensure adequate representation for Cameron Park residents.

While there are several outcomes, all of them will involve changing representation on the Board of Directors for the new fire district so that Cameron Park residents have appropriate representation.


11) Is the CSD considering a tax assessment, and if so, what is the amount?

Answer: Yes, the CSD is considering the possibility of asking the voters to approve a tax assessment. However, at this time a tax assessment amount has not been identified, and whether the assessment will fund fire services, parks and recreation services or both.   Any amount proposed by the CSD and considered by voters should be sufficient to cover existing operating deficits as well as deferred maintenance and capital equipment/building replacements.


12) Is the CSD considering a tax assessment for recreation, or only for fire services?

Answer: If the Board decides to place a measure on the ballot to approve a tax assessment, it will need to be determined if the assessment is for a specific program or service such as fire or other parks and recreation services.  That determination would be made after extensive public discussion and outreach.


13) If necessary, is the CSD willing to allocate all discretionary funds for fire services?

Answer: No. The CPCSD is required to provide a variety of services and balance the actual levels of service based on the desires of the residents of Cameron Park. The CPCSD is committed to provide sustainable fire protection services which is why we are exploring annexation with another fire district to strengthen and possibly expand services.    


14)  Has AP Triton Consulting been disclosed as possibly having a conflict of interest?

Answer: No. The CPCSD is not aware of any potential conflict of interest with AP Triton.


15)  What would the CSD like to see implemented to improve the fiscal challenges?  What is the communities “ask”/”wish list”?

Answer: To continue providing the same level of service in future years, additional revenue must be identified. Without additional revenue, some services will need to be reduced in the future.

In 2021 the CSD approved a five-year strategic plan that included input from residents and community groups in Cameron Park and identifies the CPCSDs priorities. A copy of the strategic plan can be found at The CSD is planning to begin updating the strategic plan in early 2024 to set the priorities of the current Board of Directors.


16)  Does the CSD have new revenues from the new Grocery Outlet? Can CSD generate new revenues by building at the airport?

Answer: The only new revenue the CPCSD may realize from the Grocery Outlet is due to an increase in property taxes due to the improvements made at that location. However, any such increase by itself will not materially impact the CSD’s budget.  

No, the Airport is funded and operated as a special district. 


17)  Why does the CSD believe recreation is more important than public safety?

Answer: The CSD does not believe recreation is more important than public safety. However, recreation is an important component of the CSD’s services.  Recreation opportunities through parks and programs strengthens community and supports families and individuals with fitness, social and cultural activities. 


18)  Did the CSD receive funding from the opioid settlement?

Answer: No, the CPCSD did not receive any opioid settlement funds as recreation and fire districts were not a party to the litigation.


19)  Does the CSD use a ‘Zero Base Budgeting’ process? If not, why not?

Answer: No. While there are advantages and disadvantages to any budget process, the CPCSD practices more of an ‘incremental’ budget approach instead of a ‘zero-based’ budget approach as that seems best suited to meet the needs of the Cameron Park community.  Staff and the Board of Directors evaluates the cost of services each year, reduces or eliminates services that have a lower priority, to provide a balanced budget.  In Fiscal Year 2023-2024, a budgeted deficit exists to keep Fire Station 88 open. 


20) Is the funding for fire services a fixed percentage or is it adjusted as needed?

Answer: The percentage of the CSD’s budget to cover all fire costs is not fixed but adjusted annually based on need for fire services and other CSD services. 


21) Why is the CSD exploring other fire protection service providers?

Answer: Fire protection services are primarily funded by property taxes from residents and businesses within Cameron Park. Unfortunately, property tax revenue growth is not keeping up with increasing costs for providing parks, recreation and fire protection services. It should be noted this is not unique to Cameron Park and is a challenge in many rural areas in California.

Due to increasing costs, and limited growth, the CSD is faced with the following decisions:

a)      Significantly reduce or eliminate parks, recreation and community center programs and services.

b)      Close the fire station at 2961 Alhambra Drive (Station 88)

c)      Merge (e.g., annex) with another bordering fire district such as the El Dorado County Fire Protection District, El Dorado Hills Fire Protection District or the Rescue Fire Protection District which may be less expensive than CalFire.


Ambulance Services in Cameron Park

22)  Will the CSD consider getting an ambulance assigned to Cameron Park?

Answer: In the near future it is unlikely an ambulance will be stationed in Cameron Park since it is no longer staffed by CalFire employees. However, if annexation efforts are successful and Station 89 is staffed by El Dorado Hills or El Dorado County Fire, the Emergency Medical Services Authority may decide to station an ambulance at that location.


23) Is there an ambulance at Station 88 or Station 89?

Answer: No.


24) Is there Advanced Life Support equipment on the ambulance?

Answer: Yes.


25)  Why is Medic Unit 89 no longer assigned to Station 89? Why did the Cameron Park CSD discontinue funding for an ambulance?

Answer: State law places the responsibility on county governments (Board of Supervisors) to provide ambulance services. In El Dorado County, the Board of Supervisors contracts with El Dorado County Emergency Services Authority to provide the ambulance services ( The El Dorado County Emergency Services Authority then contracts with local fire districts to operate the ambulances. In addition, the Emergency Services Authority Board of Directors, which consists of the fire chiefs from Georgetown, Mosquito, Garden Valley, Pioneer, Rescue, Cameron Park, El Dorado Hills and El Dorado County, is responsible for determining how funding is allocated to each of the local fire districts that operate an ambulance.

Like the cost for fire protection services, costs for ambulance services are increasing and were projected to exceed funding from the Emergency Medical Services Authority by $180,045 which would result in the CSD having to pay those costs using their discretionary revenue (e.g., property tax revenue) to maintain the ambulance even though it is not a mandated function of the CSD. Representatives from the CSD had discussions with representatives from the Emergency Services Authority who stated they could not make a commitment to fully fund the cost of ambulance.

Due to the budget challenges facing the CSD, and considering the above, the CSD terminated the agreement with the Emergency Services Authority.  


CSD Fire Department Operations

26) How many fire stations are currently staffed in Cameron Park?

Answer: Two

-          Station 88: 2961 Alhambra Drive.

-          Station 89: 3200 Country Club Drive.


27) How long has CalFire been providing fire protection services to Cameron Park?

Answer: Since 1996.


28)  What are the dates of the current CalFire two-year agreement?

Answer: July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2025.


29) When was the last time the contract for fire services was competitively bid?

Answer: 2018. Proposals were submitted by the CalFire and the El Dorado County Fire Protection District. The contract was awarded to CalFire.


30) Is it possible Station 88 will be closed in 2024?

Answer: Yes; Board of Directors is monitoring budget and actual expenditures closely and may consider closing Fire Station 88 and reducing other CSD services if warranted. 


31)  When will a final decision be made relative to the closure of Station 88?

Answer: Likely March/April 2024. The decision relies on mid-year budget reporting from all departments for the Board to project what is financially feasible for the 2024-25 fiscal year, given projected revenues and reserves.


32)  How does the CSD obtain a state-of-the-art fire station at the current location of Station 88?

Answer: With the current fiscal challenges, the CPCSD is unable to afford a new fire station. In addition, when a new fire station is built in the future, an analysis of population density, future growth, etc. will need to be conducted to determine the most desirable location.  The current parcel has size limitations that may prevent fire station expansion and modernization expansion. 


33)  Has the CSD considered the consequences if Station 88 is closed and the increased insurance costs?

Answer: Yes, possible impacts were considered and why the CSD made the decision earlier this year to keep Station 88 open while additional options are explored.  Negative impact on residential insurance is undetermined, and the current evidence is that insurance may be impacted regardless of the presence of station 88.


34)  How did the CSD determine that Station 88 was designed as a ‘volunteer’ site? What evidence or documents exists that supports that claim?

Answer: In 1990, the CSD constructed their second fire station, Station 88, on Alhambra Drive.  The station was staffed by volunteers until 1993 when the Board approved funding for full-time staff positions. 


35)  Is the CSD having discussions with other fire districts relative to keeping Station 88 open? If fire services are annexed, does it increase the likelihood of Station 88 closing?

Answer: The feasibility of keeping Station 88 open is one of the primary discussion points with County Fire, El Dorado Hills Fire as well as CalFire. While it is too soon to know for certain, one of the goals of annexing is to prevent Station 88 from closing.


36)  Did the CSD explore contracting with another fire service provider rather than annexing with a local fire district?

Answer: Yes. Representatives from the District discussed this option with the Fire Chiefs from the El Dorado County Fire Protection District, El Dorado Hills Fire Protection District and Rescue Fire Protection District. All three districts stated they would only be interested in a short-term contract to cover services in Cameron Park if efforts to annex (e.g. merge) were taking place.


37)  Why is Rescue Fire District not being considered along with El Dorado County Fire and El Dorado Hills Fire?

Answer: The CPCSD did consider annexing with the Rescue Fire Protection District.

On August 3, 2023, two Directors from the CPCSD met with two Directors from Rescue to discuss annexation efforts and whether combining the two agencies would be feasible. In addition, on September 20, 2023, the CPCSD Board of Directors considered a recommendation from the Fire Annexation ad-hoc committee to include Rescue Fire Protection District in the feasibility study with an additional cost of $24,343.  Based on considerable feedback from the community, this recommendation was not approved.


38)  If fire services are annexed to an agency with the agreement to keep Station 88 open, and the agency later wants to close Station 88, does Cameron Park have any recourse?

Answer: At this time everyone involved in the annexation discussions wants Station 88 to remain open. If at some point in the future after annexation efforts have been completed there is a desire/need to close Station 88, Cameron Park will have representation on the Board of Directors for that fire district so that best interests of the entire community are met.


39)  If annexed, will the CSD maintain ownership of fire stations/engines and equipment?

Answer: These would be topics for negotiation, but the CSD would possibly retain ownership of the fire station buildings and the land where both are located. The engines and other equipment would likely transfer to the new agency.


40)  Can Cameron Park get personnel outside of CalFire?

Answer: Yes. The CPCSD is not required to use CalFire for fire protection services. However, CalFire has done an outstanding job in providing fire protection services to Cameron Park since 1996, and in 2018 was selected to continue providing fire protection services through a competitively bid process.


41)  Has the CSD explored ideas and options for generating funds for fire services? Please provide examples.

Answer: Yes. The CSD secured numerous grants for parks, recreation and fire services.  For fire services specifically, the following grants have been secured in recent years:

·         CA Climate Investment Grant for fire prevention and education activities $331,000

·         Rural Fire Capacity Grant for Personal Protection Equipment $14,000

·         Office of Traffic Safety Grant for Extraction Equipment $32,000


42)  Director Scobey said she would like to hear from the community if we want to continue with the CalFire contract. Why is that the only option? Why not consider other agencies?

Answer: Continuing the contract with CalFire is one option but would likely result in the closure of Station 88 at some point in the future. As a result, the CSD is considering other agencies to determine the best solution relative to the long-term sustainability of fire services as well as other services provided by the CPCSD.


43)  Can the CSD terminate the CalFire agreement and start a competitive bid for fire protection services?

Answer: Yes, the CSD can legally terminate the CalFire agreement; however, it must be done pursuant to the terms of the agreement between the CSD and CalFire so that there would not be any disruption to fire protection services. This includes a required one-year notice to Cal Fire if the contract is to be terminated, and would not be done without another agency in place to assume fire protection services.

In addition, other local fire districts were not interested in a contract for services unless annexation efforts were also being pursued so terminating the agreement with CalFire and starting competitive bid is not in the best interest of Cameron Park residents at this time.

District Presentation with Slide 8 Discussion Questions.pdf


Join our mailing list