About This Web Site
This website was originally formed by The Orinda Citizens Emergency Services Task Force in 2012. The Task Force was formed by nine residents of Orinda to determine how Orinda was being serviced by MOFD, 15 years after MOFD was formed to better serve us. It continues its observations on MOFD’s service to Orinda.
MOFD was formed in 1997 when the City Council and concerned residents determined that the 23% of our property tax dollars allocated to fire protection by Prop 13 were not being fully used in Orinda. This caused an inferior level of service; not what the residents of Orinda were paying for.
The City Council told the residents that if they formed MOFD it would:
1) Use property tax dollars from Orinda to MOFD solely for service in Orinda.
2) Improve service by putting a paramedic on every engine (90% of all emergencies are medical).
After the voters agreed to form MOFD and elected an independent board to run it, the City Council walked away from keeping track of how our tax dollars were being used, trusting the newly elected MOFD Board to do the right thing.
Nine years later, in 2006 when the City asked the residents to pass a bond to repair roads, storm drains and fire hydrants, the claim was made that one million Orinda property tax dollars a year going to MOFD were NOT being spent in Orinda as promised. This claim helped defeat the tax.
Three years later the City finally called a tri-agency (Orinda, Moraga and MOFD) in early 2009 to discuss the situation. At that meeting, MOFD claimed that the reason Orinda, with 53% of the population and 58% of the district’s firefighters stationed in Orinda was paying 64% of MOFD’s expenses, was that significant service was provided from Moraga stations into Orinda; service Orinda should pay for. The Orinda Council accepted the argument.
As the year’s passed, Orinda’s property tax growth exceeded Moraga’s and Orinda was paying an increasing portion of MOFD’s expenses. It was doubtful that Orinda’s taxes were, in fact, being used for service in Orinda.
In 2011, a petition signed by 220 residents was presented to the City Council asking that a task force be formed to review, after 14 years of service, how Orinda was being served by MOFD. The City refused to create one. So The Orinda Citizens Emergency Services Task Force was formed.
On September 18, 2012, the Task Force presented its 86-page report to the City Council. The key findings included the fact that MOFD’s claim of Orinda receiving significant service from Moraga stations was only partially true due the fact that while Moraga provided service to Orinda, it also received significant service back from Orinda stations. So, net of this reciprocal service, Moraga stations respond to 100 extra incidents, out of 2,400 total operations per year. This 4% increase in workload could not account for Orinda paying 14% ($1 million) of Moraga’s expenses. But neither Orinda nor MOFD took any action.
In 2014 MOFD experienced significant financial stress so it reduced the number of firefighters in Orinda by two. This reduced the cost to service Orinda but Orinda’s taxes did not go down. Everyone’s cost-per-firefighter went up and Orinda’s subsidy to Moraga increased from $750,000 to $1.7 million. And by 2022, with Orinda property taxes continuing to grow faster than Moraga’s, the overcharge to Orinda exceeds $3 million. Money Orinda needs to provide wildfire prevention.
This website continues to monitor this issue in addition to MOFD’s overall finances; which have significantly improved thanks to the fact that Orinda taxpayers are paying millions more than it is costing MOFD to service them.