May 24, 2010 4:12 PM

APPLE VALLEY • As concerns over the stability of the Apple Valley Fire Protection District mount — and with the firefighters’ union now apparently on his side — Councilman Rick Roelle said in the “very near future” he plans to ask Town Council to once again study the option of contracting with San Bernardino County for service.

“I brought it up a year ago and it fell on deaf ears,” Roelle said. “I think that the town and the people were led to believe then that there were no issues from the management of the fire district, and it appears that’s not the case.”

With station brownouts and layoffs reportedly possible in the face of a $1 million deficit, Roelle said he considers it “pretty irresponsible” of the AVFPD board to say they won’t consider contracting with county fire.

“Aren’t all options on the table when there’s serious issues with public safety?” he said. “I think it’s the council’s responsibility to demand of the fire board that they at least entertain the idea.”

Rick Piercy, president of the AVFPD board, insists the number of firefighters on at any one time are sufficient and that the board wouldn’t make any compromises when it comes to safety.

“We would never do that,” Piercy said, arguing there’s more accountability and control under the current system. “We think that we can still survive (as a locally run fire district). All of us live in the town and we wouldn’t jeopardize ourselves or our citizens.”

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