April 8, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- The California Department of Forest and Protection (CALFIRE) has requested that the state Board of Equalization (BOE) temporarily postpone the $150 State Responsibility Area (SRA) fee collection after receiving tens of thousands of appeals by homeowners contending that the fee was incorrectly assessed.
While SRA fee bills were previously scheduled to go out on April 2, the BOE postponed collection of the fire fee until the CALFIRE Board reviews and corrects the SRA maps that determine who is within areas with state fire suppression responsibility," a press release issued today by the Alpine Fire Department states. "The billing data based its fee assessments on the agency’s maps designed for planning fire suppression instead of parcels, resulting in 87,000 fee appeals."
The $150 SRA charge is levied in areas where CALFIRE is primarily tasked with preventing fires. Owners within the boundaries of a local fire protection agency, such as the Alpine Fire Protection District, receive a reduction of $35 per habitable structure, but this assessment has also been troublesome and the source of property owner protests.
All money collected in connection with the SRA fee goes to CALFIRE. None of the money collected goes to local agencies.
In light of the ongoing challenges with the SRA fee, numerous legislators have introduced bills to revise or repeal the SRA fee. In addition, last October, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association served the State of California with a class action lawsuit challenging the state constitutionality of the fire fee.