Santa Ana, Calif., and Orange County Fire Authority leaders on Monday signed a contract to have the county fire department absorb the city’s 128-year-old fire department.
City officials made the move with the support of firefighters as part of a plan for Santa Ana — which has faced rumors of bankruptcy — to solve a $30 million budget shortfall.
The move is expected to save the city’s general fund $10.5 million.
The fire service, however, will drop from a minimum staffing level of 63 firefighters at all times to the Fire Authority’s staffing model, which calls for 48 firefighters on duty, according to published reports.
The city has about 325,000 residents, ranking second in the county and 11th in California, according to state Department of Finance statistics.
Santa Ana is not alone in considering the same remedy for budget woes.
Costa Mesa is also considering having the Orange County Fire Authority take over its emergency services. Meanwhile, El Segundo and Monterey Park have discussed joining the Los Angeles County Fire Department.