Steve Davis, the president of the city’s firemen’s association, requested that Downey commission a feasibility study on going with county services.
“We are asking for the City Council to consider contracting services with the county fire department,” Davis said.
The move could save the city money and possibly roll back recent cuts to fire service, he said.
“We believe it could save Downey taxpayers millions of dollars a year,” Davis said.
“I don’t understand why we would not even be able to look into it,” he said.
In most cases when a city contracts its fire service to the county, the city’s firefighters are absorbed into the county’s force.
Councilman Mario Guerra said that he would not consider a study, pointing out that Downey’s residents in 1998 by a percentage of 85-15 passed a ballot measure mandating that any change in emergency services go to a vote of the people.
Guerra thanked the firefighters for agreeing during recent negotiations to contribute more toward pension and health insurance costs, but he said he wouldn’t be in favor of contracting fire and paramedic service.
“I can’t vote for that,” he said. “I can’t participate in that. It was 85 -15. It wasn’t even close.”
Councilman Luis Marquez also thanked the firefighters for taking pay cuts. He said he would be willing to discuss a study of contracting out fire services to the county.
The discussion comes in light of a major cut to the fire department.
The city on Tuesday cut the number of firefighters from 63 to 54. And as of July 1, one of the city’s four fire engines was taken out of service.
The city is forming a committee to figure out ways to get the truck back in service, Fire Chief Lonnie Croom said.
Resident Ken Halbmaier said he had concerns about the loss of the fire engine, which was formerly at Station 1 on Paramount Boulevard.
The change leaves residents in the southwestern part of the city without a fire engine stationed in the district.
“Is this equitable?” Halbmaier asked.
Davis said it was time to ask the voters once again if they would consider contracting out fire and paramedic service. A study wouldn’t cost any money, he said.
“Closing fire engines is not appropriate,” Davis said. “There is a way for the city council to do a feasibility study.“