Dispatch generator purchase goes through NCFPD

The North County Fire Protection District is part of the North County Dispatch Joint Powers Authority, which is not able to accept State Homeland Security Grant Program funding. The grant to purchase a backup power generator for the North County Dispatch JPA thus went through the North County Fire Protection District.

The NCFPD’s Feb. 19 board action was to accept $107,000 of SHSGP funding, authorize NCFPD staff to proceed with the purchase of a backup power generator for the North County Dispatch JPA using a competitively-bid contract between the National Joint Powers Alliance and Caterpillar, approve the resolution for the process, and amend the district’s budget to reflect the official revenue and expenditure increase. Because NCFPD board member Kathleen Thuner owns stock in Caterpillar she recused herself from the discussion and vote; the other four board members voted in favor of the action.

“The member agencies won’t have to make that expenditure,” NCFPD fire chief Bill Metcalf said of obtaining the generator replacement through the grant. “As members we’ve been planning to replace that generator out of our own funds.”

The North County Dispatch JPA operates a regional dispatch center based in Rancho Santa Fe and consists of the North County Fire Protection District, the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District, and the Carlsbad, Encinitas, Oceanside, San Marcos, Solana Beach, and Vista city fire departments. The JPA had deemed replacement of the existing generator to be necessary. “It’s been there for a number of years and it’s become increasingly unreliable,” Metcalf said.

In San Diego County, the State Homeland Security Grant Program funds are allocated by the San Diego County Unified Disaster Council, which authorized the use of SHSGP funding to replace the generator. Although the JPA itself is not eligible to receive SHSGP funds, individual member agencies can receive grants.

The grant conditions require that the generator be purchased, installed, and in operation by April 30, 2013. “We were on a very, very short timeline,” Metcalf said.

NCFPD was the first member agency to agendize a board meeting after the Unified Disaster Council approved the allocation, so the grant was processed through NCFPD.  The National Joint Powers Alliance and Caterpillar have an agreement with a pre-set purchase price for NJPA affiliates. Approximately half of the grant will cover the purchase cost of the generator while the other half will fund the installation.

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