SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Fire Department is planning to expand, adding a second ambulance and six paramedics. The expansion is in response to the new expo line the city is currently constructing and an increase in emergency calls to the area.
Interim Fire Chief Dennis Downs proposed a $3 million increase in his budget plan for the 2016-17 year, that was sent to city council. The increase is to account for salaries for full-time firefighters and new equipment. The proposed budget for the 2015-16 year is now $35.9 million, which increases to $39.6 million for 2016-17, with most of the budget going to salaries.
According to Downs who addressed City Council last week, 94 percent of the annual budget will go to employee’s benefits and salaries, with the remainder going to equipment.
Emergency call rates are increasing, which the department expects to continue even more with the opening of a west-side expo line. This week construction on the expo line from Santa Monica to Downtown LA is taking place. The expo will make travel to the city around 50 minutes, and is expected to open in late 2015.