Kern County’s new fire chief says its time to get to work. Witt worked in various roles for the Kern County Fire Department for 20 years.
He says the department is putting up fire breaks in the mountains. That includes taking out dead trees in the hopes of protecting local communities. We also asked the chief about the 8.8 million dollar structural deficit facing the department.
He shared with us his plan that would implement 2.2 million dollars of administrative cuts. Cuts Witt says will impact a few maintenance positions in addition to the helicopter division.
“The fire department as well as myself take the fiscal deficit very seriously and we’re doing everything we can to address that, ” said Witt. “We’re going to work very actively. We’re doing everything we can to address that, but I want the community to know we’re safe, we’re effective, and we’ll continue forward.”
We also spoke with the chief about KCFD’s contract with the city of McFarland. There has been debate in McFarland about how much the city should pay for fire services. Witt says negotiations are ongoing, but a deal needs to be reached by July 1st.