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San Gabriel Valley Digest

Covina : Fire Service Breakup OKd

September 22, 1988

The City Council voted Monday to pull out of a 2-year-old partnership with West Covina that had merged the fire departments into the San Gabriel Valley Fire Authority.

Covina Mayor Bob Low, who voted with Councilmen Thomas O'Leary and Gary Coffey to disband the authority, said he hoped the cities could work together amicably to ease the transition.

"Our hope is that we can mutually dissolve this thing and get on with our business," Low said.

Councilmen Chris Lancaster and Henry Morgan opposed the vote. Originally, Covina voted 3 to 2 to merge the departments, but two supporters of the authority have since left the council.

Under the authority's bylaws, one city is required to give one year's notice before pulling out, but the process can be speeded up if both city's agree. West Covina will consider the issue on Monday.

Covina critics claim that cost reductions have hurt their city more than West Covina. In addition, a report from a Covina citizens committee, formed at the behest of Low, O'Leary and Coffey, contained a scathing indictment of the service provided to Covina.

According to estimates from Covina City Manager John R. Thomson, beginning a separate fire department on July 1 would cost the city $3.76 million. That is about 13% more than the city is paying for protection under the authority. No figures were available on how much West Covina would have to pay to provide its own fire service.

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