The California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection recently decided against considering an increase of the annual fire prevention fee paid by California residents living in the designated State Responsibility Area for fire prevention and suppression, also known as the SRA fee.
Last year, Fire Prevention Fee bills were mailed out to more than 800,000 rural Californians, many of whom received that bill for the fourth time. About 17,000 of the bills were sent to Eastern Madera County.
After a report from Acting Executive Officer Matt Dias on the condition of the fund, board members decided that revenues continue to be robust enough to avoid a fee increase for the 2016-17 fiscal year.
The SRA fee, established as part of the 2011-12 State Budget Package, requires owners of habitable structures in the SRA to pay an annual fee to fund state fire prevention services in the SRA.
The board is required to review the fee annually and make adjustments if necessary, with the current fee rate assessed at $152.33 annually.
The Rural County Representatives of California RCRC) has opposed the SRA since its imposition on the grounds that residents outside of the SRA benefit from state fire prevention and firefighting efforts - however, in recent months the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection have been issuing grants from the SRA Fund to local entities for fire prevention efforts that include tree mortality mitigation and other vital activities.
More information on the SRA fee can be found on the Board of Forestry website at www.firepreventionfee.org.
RCRC is a 35 member county strong service organization that champions policies on behalf of California’s rural counties.