A city finance department analysis shows that Buena Park would save about $354,000 the first year if Orange County Fire Department provides fire services to the city.
But the analysis revealed that by 1998-99, based on a five-year historical average of county and city cost increases, there may be no savings to the city.
"Theoretically, the county contract would cost more than if the city maintained its own department," said Finance Director Greg Beaubien. "In the beginning you save money, but at some point in time, the savings are no longer there on an annual basis, and you begin to have cost increase."
Beaubien said on Monday that the estimated $353,790 in savings is based on a proposed budget of $5.35 million for the city's Fire Department in 1994-95.
Beaubien, who explained the analysis to the more than 80 people who attended Monday's public information meeting on the county's proposal, said the city could also face cost increases for fire services in coming years.
"There's no way to predict the future," he said.
Max Schulman, a 31-year resident and outspoken opponent of merging fire services with the county, criticized the proposal based on the analysis. "It becomes a loser in a short period of time," Schulman said.
The proposal is being considered as a cost-cutting measure since the city will continue to face a budget deficit this fiscal year, officials said.
If the city's Fire Department is merged with the county, all 61 employees would be absorbed and would not lose their jobs.
A public hearing and council decision is tentatively scheduled for May 16.
At Monday night's meeting, which lasted five hours, 23 people addressed the council. They raised concerns, asked questions, and some voiced opposition.
City firefighters gave their support and urged the council to vote in favor of the county taking over fire services.