A notice to Lakeside Fire District Residents who also live in State Responsibility (SRA) Fire Areas
In early 2011, The California Legislature adopted legislation that required the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection (BOF) to develop and implement a program to assess a fire prevention fee on homeowners within State Responsibility Areas (SRA). In November 2011, the BOF voted to adopt regulations to implement the fee mandated by the Legislature. The annual fee of $150 for the first structure and $25 for each additional structure will go to help fund prevention activities on SRA lands. A $35 credit will be given to those who live on SRA lands but pay for fire protection from a second agency. There have been and are ongoing attempts to overturn it; however, the fee is currently scheduled to start being assessed in San Diego County beginning in August, 2012.
The SRA bill, which will be separate from your property tax bill, will be invoiced by the California Board of Equalization to be used for fire prevention services and programs provided by the state. According to Cal Fire’s website, this may include “brush clearance defensible space inspections, fire breaks, and public education programs." A portion of the fee may also be used to fund the extraordinary efforts taken by CAL FIRE to prevent the expansion of wildland fires during emergency situations.
The decision to assess the SRA fee was not an immediate one. In 2004, SB 1049 was enacted and imposed an annual fee to be collected on the county level to fund fire prevention activities on all parcels of land located within SRAs. However, before any money was collected, the fee was repealed by SB 1112. The fee was then revisited during the 2007-2008 budget process at the suggestion of the Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) as a means of recovering costs for services provided to private beneficiaries and the BOF voted in favor of the fee during their November 2011 meeting.
CAL FIRE has developed a web site with information about the SRA fee. The site includes a number of helpful links as well as the phone number to the SRA Fee Implementation Center. The web site can be accessed at http://www.firepreventionfee.org. Also, the BOF has a tool on their website to help residents determine whether or not their home is on SRA lands. The tool can found at http://www.bof.fire.ca.gov/sra_viewer/
The Lakeside Fire Protection District is in opposition to the implementation of this fee and no monies derived by it currently come to the fire district.