Over 29 thousand Nevada County residents are on notice to receive a bill from Cal Fire under the State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Benefit Fee. The $150 fee was approved by the legislature last year to pay for fire prevention services within Cal Fire’s Jurisdiction. Paul Smith is a lobbyist for the Regional Council of Rural Counties, which has been fighting the fee since its conception. He says the fee targets homeowners in State Responsibility areas, and makes it harder for fire districts in those areas to raise revenue.
The Regional Council of Rural Counties expects the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers group to file a suit against the fee claiming it discriminates against those who live in State Responsibility areas and is an illegal tax as it did not receive a two-thirds vote in the legislature for passage. Smith says the bill homeowners are going to receive has nothing to do with the county.
Smith says, “each county assesses and develops property rolls differently and to think that you can just throw a magic switch and bill all those people appropriately is just fantacy. ” 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. Those property owners who are also in a local fire protection agency wil receive a $35 discount on their bill.