County supervisors approve federal pandemic funds to help fire districts


SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved transferring $4 million in federal funds to independent fire protection districts to help them combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, which the U.S. Congress passed in March and President Joe Biden signed into law. The fire districts have until 2024 to spend the money on needs such as personal protection equipment and coronavirus testing.

Located in or near unincorporated communities, fire districts receiving money are Alpine, $143,800; Bonita-Sunnyside, $122,800; Borrego Springs, $34,100; Deer Springs, $115,200; Lakeside, $591,300; Lower Sweetwater, $22,400; and North County, $494,100.

Funding amounts are based on the number of residents within each fire district’s jurisdiction.

“Distributing federal funds to our local fire districts is the right action at the right time,” said board Chairman Nathan Fletcher. “Our firefighters stepped up during the pandemic to reduce community transmission of COVID-19. Replenishing these dollars with federal resources ensures they are able to support the safety and security needs of our residents.”

Supervisor Nora Vargas  — whose district includes Bonita and Lower Sweetwater — thanked firefighters for their efforts during a challenging time.

Supervisor Joel Anderson said that while fire protection agencies in his district, including Alpine, received the biggest share of ARPA dollars, “that money protects all of us.”

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