Lake Elsinore votes to invoice Canyon Lake for fire services

After voters on Tuesday, Nov. 5, in Canyon Lake failed to vote on Measure D, a special tax to fund the continuation of Fire Station 60 as well as its provided services, the city will now be required to pay for its fire services from Lake Elsinore.

Station 60 is the only fire station in Canyon Lake. Without it, the city will have to rely on the fire protection services from Lake Elsinore and Menifee services.

Therefore, in an effort to protect the residents of Lake Elsinore, city officials unanimously voted Tuesday, Nov. 12 to invoice the City of Canyon Lake for fire service calls on a monthly basis.

The invoice will include: dispatch, supplies, equipment, etc.

Beginning Thursday, Dec. 5, Station 60 may become unstaffed. If that happens, Canyon Lake will not have mutual aid resources that they can share with the city of Lake Elsinore or other cities in the area. This will place Canyon Lake in an “assistance by hire” stance, meaning they will have to pay for services.

During the city’s regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Lake Elsinore City Manager Grant Yates said staff discussed charging $1,000 an hour or $2,000 depending if the city were to use two fire trucks.

Currently, Canyon Lake has 40-50 calls per month for services. For the north side of Canyon Lake response time is 2-4 minutes, dispatching from Station 60. If Station 60 closes response time will jump to 8-12 minutes, if dispatching from Station 97, according to officials. That’s about triple of the response time.

“My concern is for the lives of these residents,” said Councilman Brian Tisdale. “I fear for the cityhood.”

There has been no communication from the City of Canyon Lake, said Lake Elsinore Mayor Pro Tem Natasha Johnson; this is especially odd because the close proximity cities share fire services.

“I’m distraught for the residents of Canyon Lake, but even more so, we have to protect the residents of Lake Elsinore,” she said.

Johnson also said in the City of Lake Elsinore, “safety is our number one priority.”

Both she and Lake Elsinore City Mayor Robert Magee said Canyon Lake has a different business plan than them.

In the last 10 years Lake Elsinore has opened three new fire stations, all staffed and equipped with a response time of about 4 minutes.

“That did not come cheap,” Magee said. “That was commitment made by its council and the response from their residents.”

He also added that taxpayers stepped up and paid to have this service.

The council first heard plans of Station 60 closing in April, Magee said. The City of Lake Elsinore never received a written plan about what the City of Canyon Lake was going to do and how they wanted Lake Elsinore to help.

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