Representatives from the Rural Council of Rural Counties, of which Nevada County is a member, testified before a regulatory hearing Wednesday in Redding, strongly voicing objections to imposing fees on structure owners in the State Responsibility area, also referred to as a “fire fee”. Stacy Heaton, a Regulatory Affairs Advocate for RCRC says the budget bill, AB29X, introduced the fee earlier this year as an emergency measure which would impose a $150 per year fee on SRA property owners with a $35 discount for property owners already paying into a fire district.
click to hear Stacy Heaton
Speaking to the Board with approximately 100 people in attendance, a number of arguments against SRA fees were made, including that Cal FIRE’s most expensive activities are for fire suppression in highly urbanized areas, not rural areas. Additionally, many landowners in the SRA have already agreed to tax themselves for fire protection and prevention services which are being performed by local fire agencies rather than Cal FIRE. RCRC says , imposing an SRA fee effectively taxes people twice without any additional benefit.
The SRA fees were established to shore up CAL FIRE’s budget after $50 million was taken out of Cal Fire’s budget and placed in the State General Fund. Heaton says bills for the new fire fee could be mailed out to property owners as soon as this August.