In yesterday’s meeting of the Board of Supervisors of San Bernardino County, Fire District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt secured approval to create a budget reserve that will reach approximately $5 million to build fire stations in the remote areas of San Bernardino County. Also, during final budget approval on June 23, Supervisors agreed to set aside additional federal funds for construction of fire stations over the next several years, most notably on the Interstate 40 corridor. At present, County Fire Department response times on Interstate 40 can be up to an hour or longer, as the distance between Needles and Barstow stations is 150 miles. Additional funding for these projects will be from the federal government’s Payment in Lieu of Taxes (or PILT) program, which allocates money to local jurisdictions that have areas of federal land, which do not generate property taxes. The County Board also directed County Fire Chief Pat Dennen to seek a $12.6 million federal stimulus grant which, if received, would go toward replacing aging fire stations, including County Fire Station #15 in Angelus Oaks. In separate yet fire-related actions taken by the Supervisors, a $30,000 allocation was granted to Rebuilding Mountain Hearts and Lives, so that they may continue assistance to victims of 2007’s Slide and Grass Valley Fires. Also, building permit waivers, in the amount of $8,515, for those affected by these fires will be compensated to the San Bernardino County Fire Department from the County’s General Fund.
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