Update on this story:
According to KMUD News Coordinator. Cynthia Elkins:
"Humboldt County residents started getting bills for the new state fire protection fee last week, just as a group is preparing to challenge the fee in state court. The fire protection fees were passed in the face of budget cuts to fire protection services. The bills are being sent out in alphabetical order by county, meaning folks in Alameda County received their’s first. The fee goes to about 825-thousand residents in the state. Jim Little is Chief of the Long Valley Fire Protection District and is concerned about the fee. He says he has two main concerns, saying his first (concern) is that the legislature did not consider the impact the fee would have on local fire districts like his."
Use the player below to hear the interview with Jim Little, Chief of the Long Valley Fire Protection District, and Tim Bittle, an attorney with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association, which aired on KMUD Local News on Sept. 17, 2012, Cynthia Elkins reporting:
Briceland Fire Chief Tim Olsen was a guest on Monday Morning Magazine on September 17 (from 8 to 8:30), and one of the topics of discussion was the so-called State Responsibility Area (SRA) Fire Prevention Benefit Fee.
The State Responsibility Area (SRA) Fire Prevention Benefit Fee was enacted following the signing of Assembly Bill X1 29 in July 2011. The law approved the new annual Fire Prevention Fee to pay for fire prevention services within the SRA. The fee is applied to all habitable structures within the SRA.
The fee is levied at the rate of $150 per habitable structure, which is defined as a building that can be occupied for residential use. Owners of habitable structures who are also within the boundaries of a local fire protection agency will receive a reduction of $35 per habitable structure.
This fee will fund a variety of important fire prevention services within the SRA including brush clearance and activities to improve forest health so the forest can better withstand wildfire.
The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association believes the new Fire Prevention Fee is really a tax that needed (but did not receive) two-thirds legislative approval. The Association will be filing suit to challenge the fee and seek refunds for people who have filed a Petition for Redetermination. The HJTA hosts a website with information about this issue, including a petition to repeal it. Follow this link to http://firetaxprotest.org. The direct link to the petition is http://firetaxprotest.org/?page_id=13.
You can listen to Dennis Huber and Tim Olsen's discussion by going to the KMUD Audio Archive and look for Monday Morning Magazine, September 17, 2012.