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Rural Fire Fee Dispute Goes to Special Session; Supervisors Urge Repeal of 'Illegal Tax'

The Board of Forestry and Fire Protection will discuss the fire prevention fee Monday in Sacramento.

The controversial new fire prevention fee imposed by the state of California will be the focus of a special session of the state Board of Forestry and Fire Protection on Monday.

The annual $150 fee is due to be applied to residentially developed properties in certain unincorporated areas called state responsibility areas (SRAs). It will affect approximately 65,000 parcels with dwelling units in San Diego County, according to the county Board of Supervisors.

The supervisors have expressed strong opposition to the tax and have asked Gov. Jerry Brown to repeal it, in a letter sent to him on Wednesday.

"The SRA fee constitutes an illegal tax and is a desperate measure," the letter states. "This amounts to double taxation because many of these property owners also pay additional taxes and benefit assessment fees to local fire districts, as much as $382 annually."

The new fee was established in state law AB 29X1, which called for alterations to the state budget. It is due to be collected by the state Board of Equalization in fiscal year 2011-12.

Property owners can file an appeal within 30 days of receiving their property tax bill, according to AB 29X1.

State Sen. Joel Anderson and Assemblyman Brian Jones, whose districts include some wildland areas, have both expressed opposition to the bill.

View an analysis of AB 29X1 on a state legislative website.

The Board of Forestry and Fire Protection special session will be at 9 a.m. Monday at 1416 9th St., Sacramento.

greg Chick August 20, 2011 at 03:08 PM
Is this related to the Fire Tax issue that RMWD passed without comment in a shortest ever meeting? last week?
tom Comeau August 20, 2011 at 05:32 PM
Has anyone ever heard of a tax diminishing? Taxes always increase and when they tire of calling it a 'tax' they call it a 'fee' but it still must be paid in dollars.

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