Informational fliers regarding the new State Fire Prevention Fee are in the mail to 20,000 county residents. The California Legislature approved the controversial fee last year.
Rural homeowners started receiving bills for the few weeks ago. The fee is in addition to taxes residents already pay for fire protection services.
Third District Supervisor Neil Derry, who is leading the local charge against what Republicans call an “illegal tax,” requested the flyers be sent. “For many of my constituents this fee will come as an unwelcome surprise and it’s important that they are given vital information regarding this fee and the appeal options available,” said Supervisor Derry in a press release issued today.
The flier explains the fire fee and appeal process. Homeowners have 30 days from the date printed on the notice to pay it in full or submit an appeal to CalFire. Additional fees accrue if the payment is late and could result in a lien being placed on the property. Officials are advising property owners to pay the bill while going through the appeal process.
The California State Fire Prevention Fee (ABx1 29) will charge rural homeowners $150 annually per habitable structure for residents living in a State Responsibility Area. There is also $35 reduction per structure for residents living in a local fire protection district.
“What we have here is essentially a money grab and the most blatant violation of taxpayers’ constitutional rights I have ever seen,” stated Derry. “Rural homeowners are not responsible for Sacramento’s out-of-control spending and they shouldn’t be forced to finance the State’s obligations because Legislators can’t balance the budget.”
Please visit www.firepreventionfee.org/sra.php and/or www.calfirefee.com/appeal/ for information on how to file an appeal.
The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed a class action lawsuit earlier this month on the grounds that the fee is an illegally approved tax. The lawsuit attempts to overturn the fee and if it is successful, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association will also assist homeowners who paid their bills to get a refund from the State. For more information, please contact the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association at (213) 384-9656.
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