Cayucos Fire Department preparing to dissolve

July 7, 2017

More than a year following the failure of a tax measure aimed to preserve the Cayucos Fire Department, the agency is now in the process of dissolving. San Luis Obispo County is expected to take over control of the fire department.

For years, the Cayucos Fire Protection District has been faced with funding and staffing issues. Cayucos firefighters receive some compensation but are considered volunteers by state standards. The agency also has a contract with Cal Fire, which was eating up an increasing amount of the fire department’s budget.

In June 2016, Cayucos voters rejected a tax measure to fund a full-time fire department. The ballot measure was widely seen as a last chance opportunity to save the agency.

On Thursday, the Cayucos fire board decided to send an application to SLO County to absorb the coastal fire department. The county is expected to accept the application, triggering negotiations on the future composition of the firefighting agency.

In addition to the board moving to dissolve the department, Cayucos Fire Chief Mike Minetti also announced his retirement on Thursday.


Templeton next?


This is yet another example of the State trying to pay for their unfunded employee expenses. They are using CalFire as revenue procurement (Remember when they started charging rural people extra money?). It sounds like CalFire put the squeeze on Cayucos too.


I hate to see Cayucos lose anything. I was fortunate enough to have lived there for awhile. I LOVE that place.

Mitch C

I have managed the transformation of three fire departments from volunteer to paid … while there are some problems with volunteer departments the are more community minded than the full time paid departments. This is not to say that full time fire departments don’t perform when called upon it is that as mercenaries their heart just isn’t into it.

Mitch C

OK all you Cal Fire lovers, I tried to be kind in my remarks but the bottom line is: with a volunteer department it is all about community (4th of July picnics, Christmas tours through neighborhoods, open houses, rides for kids, etc). With a paid professional department it becomes all about me (everything that was done on a volunteer basis is now on the clock).. I have found both type of departments equally qualified, one type (volunteers) are members of the community who live locally, the other (paid professional) are mercenaries who expect pay for every small thing they do.



The costs could not possibly be as high as having the state run the show…

The citizens will be in for a surprise when they get the bill for the state fire fee.

Jorge Estrada

With Cayucos busting at the seams with business and high price housing, now they can’t afford their fire department? I’ll need to ask Bruce Gibson, what benefit County funds for Cayucos will have for the other districts in the county? I smell Cayucos Fire Department mismanagement being rewarded for political gain. I would not allow the take over without guaranteed full compensation, including future mandates, from the Cayucos property owners.


It’s a little more complicated than that, there wasn’t enough money to mismanage!!!

Cayucos had a quaint little well run Fire Department, made up of mainly volunteers, ran on almost nothing. Then Proposition 13 hit, small districts like this were frozen at the level of revenue when the Proposition took effect. Any new level of revenue would need a vote of the taxpayers, the Fire Department put it on the ballot for a vote, the community didn’t pass it:(

By dissolving the Fire District, the County automatically become responsible for providing fire services.

The question is, what amount of services will be provided, surely nothing like the quality of service they are used to:(


Property taxes go up 2% a year, when a house is sold the purchase price is taxes 1% annual base and 2% increase annually, and new construction (some hotel/motels) of homes and remodel also get reevaluated. Please don’t put this on Prop 13 which was going out of control for the homeowners and needed to be imposed so people could keep their homes. If the people thought their Fire Dept was so great why didn’t they impose a tax to keep?


Hey hey hey, slow down guy’s, II’m not saying anything about Prop 13 being a bad thing, I believe in it’s purpose wholeheartedly!!!

The problem is that the Fire Department started out at such a low base rate, even with increased property tax revenue, they were never going to catch up. Add in all the State Government mandates, required equipment cost, inflation etc, it was only a matter of time before the Fire Board had to pull the plug:(

I believe that the citizens of Cayucos voted down a tax increase, like so many that we see on every ballot, not realizing that the Fire Department would actually disband:(

Now the County will have to make up the shortfall, either by creating there own Fire department or more likely, contracting with Cal-Fire, now you’ll really see government waste in action, less service, fat pensions and escalating costs yearly!!!

Jorge Estrada

Prop 13 created fat government because as prices went through the ceiling so did the tax revenue. Prop 13 complainers, just can’t stand the minority that chose to govern their future by having a long term relationship with their home. As for the title, “Fire Department” the reality is it should be called “First Responder Department” and maybe your health insurance or vehicle insurance should pay the costs. When you think about the hefty insurance premiums we pay for structures and the number of house that actually burn down these days, I say it’s time to revisit the insurance industry and how we fund our First Responders.


More ignorance, as per usual. Your homeowners insurance costs are driven by liability claims on property. My insurance agent explained this to me and said “we don’t care if your house burns down, that’s chump change ($80,000 – as there are no development fees, water meter charge or land cost), we’re worried about the uninsured person who gets hurt working at your property ($millions).


Boldguy says…”contracting with Cal-Fire, now you’ll really see government waste in action, less service, fat pensions and escalating costs yearly!!!” You are absolutely right but this is the way in California. It is called collusion with the unions, taxes and more taxes, corruption, false budgets, and no accountability. Taxpayers vote and pass a tax for a specific purpose and then their is false accounting, need another tax, etc.

One only needs to look at the Gas (HIGHWAY) taxes (goes into the General Fund), school taxes, this week a friend sold their house to move out of State and found out about the sale tax on a home sale ($500,000 deductible for a couple then 20% for “affordable housing” for the poor), then you read in the paper that San Francisco and Palo Alto are exempt from this tax until 2026 because “it will hurt their economy”. This State is run like a Socialist Country, oh yea, it is!