Fire tax for West Marin

08/04/2011

Nearly all West Marin residents will be required to pay a $150 fire tax, due to a new policy by Governor Jerry Brown. The legislation mandates that all residents in “state responsibility areas,” one of which encompasses the vast majority of West Marin, pay extra for fire services. Locals currently cover fire protection services through property taxes, which has led to some controversy over the recently signed legislation. “There’s potential for folks feeling as if there’s an additional tax,” said Marin County Battalion Chief Mike Gianini, who added that the new tax will go to fire prevention, rather than fire suppression, which is the primary funding for local fire districts and departments. “Not to say that our constituency pays for some prevention efforts now, but most take comfort in knowing that the money from local taxes is allocated towards fire suppression and emergency medical services,” he said. “We bring that engine to your home and we put out that fire. The [new tax] is really geared towards prevention efforts within that wildland/urban interface area.” It is still unclear how the estimated $200 million statewide revenue will be spent.