Nevada County CEO Rick Haffey reports the County office continues to receive questions on the State imposed State Responsibility Area (SRA) fire fees imposed by the California State Legislature. Citizens have received the first bill for $150 minus a $35 credit because of assessments or special taxes they already pay to either Consolidated or Higgins Fire District.
We want to be sure citizens PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE DUE DATE. Individuals may have fewer than 30 days to pay. If late, there is a 20 percent (20%) penalty, plus interest. Every 30 days after that, another 20 percent penalty is added, plus interest. The fee is a lien on your property, and failure to pay can result in foreclosure.
What does the fee pay for? There are several purposes for which fee revenue can be expended. How it will ultimately be spent is unknown. It can be given away as grants to counties, special districts, local fire safe councils, the California Conservation Corps, or nonprofit organizations. It can be used to fund CalFire mapping, or inspections of private property for compliance with defensible space requirements around structures. It can also be used for billboards or radio ads to educate the public about fire danger and prevention. Or it can be used for other projects authorized by the CDF Board.
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 has filed suit to challenge the fee and seek refunds for people who have filed a Petition for Re-determination. If the Association is successful in their lawsuit, the court may order refunds to people who have filed a Petition for Re-determination.
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