SAN BERNARDINO, CA – Today, San Bernardino County mailed out informational fliers to more than 20,000 residents regarding the new State Fire Prevention Fee.
The fliers, requested by Supervisor Neil Derry, will answer questions regarding the controversial fee that many believe is a budget-balancing tactic by the State Legislature to backfill cuts made to CalFire’s budget last year. The mailer was sent by first class mail and will answer such questions as what this fire fee is, who is subject to pay it, and how to protest the fee.
“For many of my constituents this fee will come as an unwelcome surprise and it’s important that they are given vital information regarding this fee and the appeal options available,” said Supervisor Derry.
The California State Fire Prevention Fee (ABx1 29) was approved by the State Legislature in April 2011 and will charge rural homeowners $150 annually per habitable structure for residents living in a State Responsibility Area. There is also $35 reduction per structure for residents living in a local fire protection district.
“What we have here is essentially a money grab and the most blatant violation of taxpayers’ constitutional rights I have ever seen,” stated Derry.
Homeowners will have 30 days from the date printed on their bill to either pay it in full or submit an appeal to CalFire. If you pay your bill late you will be charged additional fees and interest for each 30-day period and failure to pay could result in a lien being placed on your property. Please note that filing an appeal does not exempt homeowners from accrual of interest and everyone is advised to pay their bill while protesting the fee.
“Rural homeowners are not responsible for Sacramento’s out-of-control spending and they shouldn’t be forced to finance the State’s obligations because Legislators can’t balance the budget,” Derry said.
The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed a class action lawsuit on Oct. 3 on the grounds that the fee is an illegally approved tax. The lawsuit attempts to overturn the fee and if it is successful, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association will also assist homeowners who paid their bills to get a refund from the State. For more information, please contact the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association at (213) 384-9656.