Residents See Red Over State Fire Fee
The arrival of Fire Prevention Fee notices last week from no less a tax collector than the California Board of Equalization angered many tax-averse property owners in rural areas around the state. It also irked El Dorado Hills residents, about half of whom are subject to the fee.
Local property owners argue that they already pay their local fire district for fire prevention services, and their affluent exurb has little in common with the forests and rangelands the fee was apparently created to protect.
“It’s deplorable,” said El Dorado Hills resident Evelyn Weick. “How does this happen without us knowing about it? We don’t know who’s getting the money or how it’s going to be spent.”
The typical fee in El Dorado Hills is $115 annually, but can be more if the parcel contains multiple homes or is not within an existing fire district. The current bill covers July 2012 through June 2013. Parcel owners will receive another bill in February 2013, due the following July 1.
The fee only applies to parcels in State Responsibility Areas where the state is responsible for fire prevention and suppression, as opposed to Local Responsibility Areas where a local fire agency has that responsibility. Despite the omnipresence of the El Dorado Hills Fire District, roughly half the parcels in El Dorado Hills are within a SRA.
The SRA/LRA boundaries are ...