State Responsibility Area fees, and how they will be applied, were discussed by Unit Chief Kelly Keenan of the Amador-El Dorado Unit of Cal Fire at the Cameron Park CSD meeting on March 21.
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Signed into law in 2011, the fee will be assessed on all habitable structures within areas where the state is responsible for fire prevention and suppression. That includes 31 million acres of state and privately-owned forests, watershed and rangeland. However the SRA does not include lands within Federal Responsibility Areas, local responsibility areas or land incorporated within a city.
The $150 fee will be applied to every habitable structure on a parcel so if there is more than one home, there will be a fee for each. However the fee does not apply to barns or other types of structures. Apartment buildings will only be charged one fee for the building, but condo owners will be charged individually.
The fee will be discounted by $35 if the structure is within another fire department’s jurisdiction. Everyone in Cameron Park who lives within a SRA area will get the $35 discount, so their final cost will be $115. People living outside the SRA area won’t pay any fee.
It is estimated that people will probably receive a bill for the fee in August.
Keenan said a bill has been introduced in the legislature to repeal the fee but he thought it would die in committee. The state of CalFire’s budget is such that without the SRA fees and revenue from new taxes proposed by Governor Brown, there will be serious cuts to their budget in the future.
Since the bill was passed on an emergency basis with no public comment period, it is only good for 180 days with two possible extensions. However, actions are already being taken by the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection to make the fee permanent.
People who want to comment on the fee can do so by contacting the California Board of Forestry & Fire Protection at 916-653-8007 or by e-mailing them at email@example.com. If residents are unsure if they live within a SRA area, they can go to the Board of Forestry & Fire Protection Website at www.bof.fire.ca.gov and click on the link called “State Responsibility Area Viewer.” Once they enter their address, the map will show them if they are or aren’t in a SRA.
Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.