L.A. County Firefighters Win Approval to Ask Voters for More Money After Reporting Strained Budget

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L.A. County firefighters return to their vehicles after containing a brush fire in a remote area in Sylmar in 2018.(Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

L.A. County firefighters return to their vehicles after containing a brush fire in a remote area in Sylmar in 2018.(Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County firefighters on Tuesday won approval to ask voters for more money to help their sprawling department tackle increasingly destructive wildfires and a growing volume of medical calls.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to place a proposed parcel tax on the March ballot. The tax would apply to residents in the department’s coverage area, which spans 58 cities and the county’s unincorporated areas.

Fire Chief Daryl Osby, who has led the 4,600-member department and its $1.3-billion annual budget since 2011, told the supervisors before the vote that the money was critical to maintaining service amid added strain from wildfires and emergency calls. He has overseen the launch of a public campaign to raise awareness about the stresses facing the department.

“We’ve done all that we can do with our existing budget,” said Osby, who spoke in emotional terms about the toll on his firefighters. “I come here as a last resort to ask for your support in providing the necessary means to assist our firefighters in their mission.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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