‘Be Patient': CVFD Addresses Staffing Following Tax Increase

A half-cent sales tax increase, which Chula Vista residents approved last year, was meant to create enough revenue for police and fire staffing -- but some are saying it’s still not enough for the county’s second-largest city.

“We should definitely be bulking up, getting ready to handle the growth of our city,” said Alex McDaniel, owner of Brew Bar in Chula Vista.

“Bulking up” means having enough firefighters and police officers, McDaniel told NBC 7.

“I think that numbers in policing and numbers in fire department -- all emergency services are really important,” he said.

Chula Vista Fire Chief Jim Geering agrees with McDaniel.

“We’ve seen some significant improvements already,” said Geering.

The Chula Vista Fire Department was able to hire more firefighters and decrease response times following a recent tax increase. NBC 7's Joe Little has more.

Geering said his department and the police department have hired more people since the city started collecting the increased sales taxes. He said they created 19 positions when they said they would only create 12.

Even with these hires, the South Bay city has a problem: it’s still behind the curve.

Both the Chula Vista police and fire departments have the lowest staffing based on population in the county, and the city council said it doesn’t know when that can be fixed.

“I would say be patient. We made a significant improvement. We know we’re on the right track,” said Geering.

The city has a lot of developments in the works, specifically on the Bayfront, which will make those hires easier, said Geering.

NBC 7 spoke with a representative of the Police Officers’ Association. He agreed that everyone needs to be just a little bit patient.

“I am a believer in patience. I know that time reveals exactly what’s necessary,” said McDaniel.

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