The City of Mill Valley Approves the Addition of 3 New Firefighters and Completes a Long-Range Financial Plan

On January 6th, 2020, the City of Mill Valley was able to advance our goal of enhancing our high-level services to the community by approving an additional three firefighters to the existing force of 25 members. This action followed a detailed analysis of fire and medical services provided by the Mill Valley Fire Department that included an evaluation of current risks, mitigation efforts, critical tasking, and outcomes. The analysis confirmed that the City of Mill Valley provides excellent emergency service and offered findings and options to enhance the excellent work already done by our firefighters and paramedics.

Through thoughtful financial analysis and after an exhaustive evaluation of emergency services, the City Council unanimously supported the addition to our staffing levels. This represents an substantial commitment and financial investment in fire and medical services provided to our community with Mill Valley firefighters in full support of the proposed additions.

Watch the Presentation of the June 18, 2018 Fire Department Deployment Analysis. (1hr 13 min)

At their June 18, 2018 meeting, Zac Fleckner, President of the Mill Valley Professional Firefighters Association, thanked the Council, stating “this is a big topic for us. We feel very passionate about the community’s safety and our own safety.”

“We are in full support of the plan that has been presented, with adding a third firefighter permanently,” President Fleckner said, “and we are appreciative that you have taken the time and money to look at this issue that we have been talking about.”

“I just want to thank you for putting a lot of time into this,” President Fleckner said, at the January 6, 2020 meeting on the topic.

Watch Mill Valley Firefighters Association representatives speak in support of the addition of 3 new firefighters. (3min)

“This is a terrific step forward that augments the already excellent services provided by our Fire Department,” Deputy Chief Tom Welch said. "The Mill Valley Fire Department is thrilled for the enhanced staffing, and we look forward to investigating other opportunities that add efficiencies and improve services to our residents.”

To facilitate the addition of three firefighters, On January 6, 2020, the Mill Valley City Council completed the development and review of a 10-year Long Range Financial plan. The analysis reviewed options for containing costs, identifying realistic expense and income assumptions, future revenue enhancements, and alternative uses for current funding commitments.

An ad-hoc committee comprised of Mayor Jim Wickham and Councilmember John McCauley, City Manager Jim McCann, and Finance & Human Resources Director Eric Erickson, was formed to focus on projected expenses against anticipated revenues and economic outlook scenarios that offer a comprehensive and conservative financial roadmap for future Councils to consider.

“Having this 10-year plan is a great forecast for the City Council to give us an idea of where we are going,” Mayor Jim Wickham said. “It is a good model for us to use.”

The Plan:

  • Maintains strong reserves funds for future emergencies
  • Maintains all critical services and infrastructure repair funding
  • Outlines financial strategies for future Council consideration

The analysis considers rising operating costs along with doubling pension obligations in the not too distant future.

“As we move forward, over this next period of time, I think many cities don’t understand the significance of the Public Employees' Retirement System cost that is heading our way,” Councilmember John McCauley said. “I feel much better about where we are, based on a number of things, including the planning, strength, discipline and the type of capital structure that we have.”

If you would like to learn more, we encourage you to download and review the Long Range Financial Plan Staff Report or watch the January 6, 2020 presentation here.

The City has always taken a conservative financial approach to manage the City budget, balanced against the demands for service and will continue to implement fiscally prudent policies that result in a solid financial foundation for years to come.

Additional Resources:

Staff Report: January 6, 2020
Staff Report: October, 2, 2019
Staff Report: June 18, 2018