Ire at $150 fire tax for rural areas

08/23/2012

Marin residents and officials are speaking out against a controversial new “fire fee” for unincorporated areas that will fund state fire-fighting services. The $150 fee was passed as part of a budget deal and has been called “highly flawed” by Assemblyman Jared Huffman, who said he voted to repeal it. According to the Marin Independent Journal, Mr. Huffman said the charge discriminates against rural areas, punishes communities that tax themselves to provide fire protection and “most fundamentally is probably not going to survive a legal challenge.” Furthermore, many consider the charge to be redundant, as qualifying areas are mostly covered by local fire districts already. County Supervisor Susan Adam told reporters the fire tax program was “another money grab by the state” because “the money generated by this tax will not be coming to local agencies nor used for prevention of wildland fires at the local level.” Because this fee was not levied at a local level, Marin County Fire Department, Marin County Assessor and Tax Collector cannot reverse, correct or adjust the fee. Additional information including an interactive map of the “State Responsibility Area” or SRA, where the fee is required, instructions for challenging the fee, and other frequently asked questions can be found at firepreventionfee.org or by calling (888) 310.6447.