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Fire fee bills cause uproar; authorities advise locals to pay fee, consider filing protest


Monday, November 5th, 2012
Issue 45, Volume 16.
John Raifsnider
Special to the Village News


Rarely do Sacramento politicians, local government officials and consumer advocacy groups agree on anything. But this time, on the issue of the latest fire fee imposed by the California state legislature, all three are in total agreement on at least one point: Pay the fee.

However, that’s where the conciliatory tone ends.

Some state officials – the ones who voted for the fire fee – say pay the fee, it is legal and was imposed as a means to pay for Cal Fire, the state’s firefighting agency. Legislators in the minority in this case, say it is a move made to punish Republican members who earlier in the current session, did not vote for other tax increases. Locally, fire officials from North County Fire Protection District, say the fee is unjust and has put their agency in the crosshairs of residents in the rural areas of Bonsall, Fallbrook and Rainbow.

Although there is little agreement on the need for the fee, all those involved say paying the fee now, will help homeowners avoid serious trouble down the road.

"Some people in our area think this fee benefits our department, but it doesn’t. This fee is not coming from us," said Bill Metcalf, fire chief and chief executive officer of North County Fire Protection District (NCFPD). "This fee comes directly from our state legislature, and was signed into law by the governor late last year. We oppose this fee on many points."

Most notable of Metcalf’s oppositions, is that the fee is based on the number of inhabitable structures on a homeowner’s property.

"What a lot of people don’t know or understand is that Cal Fire’s responsibility ends when it involves structures. Their role is to stop a wildfire from spreading, but it does not include saving homes. So, why is the fee based on structures that they won’t protect? It doesn’t make any sense," said Metcalf.

According to Metcalf, the fee is supposed to prevent cuts to Cal Fire’s budget. However, even with the implementation of the fee, he says, severe cuts could be made to the agency’s operation for next summer and beyond.

"Within all this discussion about the fee, not one cent is necessarily going to go to the Cal Fire budget, and that’s another point that we oppose," Metcalf said.

"The way this legislation is written, the state can impose the fee using Cal Fire as the reason, but there are no safeguards to insure that Cal Fire is going to get a dime from the fees that are collected. There could still be significant cuts made to Cal Fire’s budget, and the state can then use the money collected to apply to shortages in other areas of the general fund."

Metcalf also made a connection of the fire fee to Proposition 30.

"We’ve been hearing from state officials that if Prop. 30 doesn’t pass, that there will be some severe cuts made to Cal Fire’s budget; they’re calling them "trigger cuts" and they could be devastating to their operation beginning almost immediately," he said.

"So even with this fire fee, there’s no telling if Cal Fire is going to experience severe cuts in the very near future – the legislature can use the money they collect from this fee, any way they choose."

There is further confusion on the exact amount of the fire fee for homeowners within the NCFPD area of responsibility. Recent mailings indicating the imposition of the fire fee, note that each inhabitable structure will cost the property owner $150. However, the fee is actually $115 - a discount of $35 - because those properties within the NCFPD are already assessed a fee which is collected from the semi-annual property taxes paid to the county.

"Residents within our area have Advertisement
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come here to our offices and they’re mad about this fire fee," said Metcalf. "We have done our best to explain to them that we never asked for this fee, and that we won’t see one dime of it coming into our district. We have been very good about making our existing budget work – we’ve made some tough choices and we’ve been able to still provide outstanding service to the residents in our area," he said.

Metcalf said that if Prop. 30 passes, there have been promises made by the legislature to spare some of the state’s most important agencies from further cuts. Presumably, those include cuts to education and to Cal Fire, but as Metcalf says, there are no guarantees.

"The state can do whatever it wants," he said. "Even with all the money they collect from this fire fee, and if Prop. 30 passes, the state can still take money from anywhere, and apply it to the general fund. There are no safeguards in place to keep the money where it was originally intended."

Metcalf recently co-authored, along with NCFPD board president Wayne Hooper, a letter that was published voicing their protest to the fire fee. In the letter, they note: "The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has filed legal action to overturn the fee. The most important point is that the lawsuit does not seek injunctive relief. In other words, it does not ask the court to halt collection of the fee while the lawsuit proceeds. So bills need to be paid when received or you will incur interest and penalties."

Some of those penalties could include a tax lien on the property, as noted in a statement from the Howard-Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

That group also encourages property owners to pay the bill, but to do so under protest.

"You must pay your bill. Pay close attention to the due date. You may have fewer than 30 days to pay. If you are late, steep penalties and interest are compounded monthly. Moreover, the fee is a lien on your property, and failure to pay can result in foreclosure," the statement says.

"We at the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association believe this fee is really an illegal tax under Proposition 13. We plan to challenge the constitutionality of this tax in court. Should we prevail, the court may order refunds. To qualify for a refund you must have paid your bill and filed a "Petition for Redetermination" with the responsible agencies. When you pay your fee, we recommend that you write ‘under protest’ on the notation line of your check."

Kevin Jefferies, Assemblyman for the 66th District also encourages property owners pay the fee.

In a statement, Jefferies said, "This tax was not requested by Cal Fire. It was not even supported by any major players in the fire service - in fact most outright opposed it. The tax does not fund a single firefighter, fire engine, helicopter, air tanker, etc. It can only be used for fire prevention and education programs. Behind the scenes it's simply a shell game with the state budget and our tax dollars.

"It is very important that when someone gets the bill - they pay it. You cannot get away with protesting and not paying. The California Board of Equalization (BOE) is collecting the tax and they are just like the IRS. Pay it or be fined (and then pay it anyways). If someone wants to protest – it is best to pay and protest at the same time."

Of the nearly 100 square miles of responsibility for the NCFPD, property owners in all but the four-square mile area in downtown are required to pay the fire fee.

For more information about the fee, visit firetaxprotest.org or firepreventionfee.org.


 

43 comments

Comment Profile Imagegw
Comment #1 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 12:21 pm
Is there a map showing this area?

"Of the nearly 100 square miles of responsibility for the NCFPD, property owners in all but the four-square mile area in downtown are required to pay the fire fee."
Comment Profile ImageDANA
Comment #2 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 12:34 pm
I AM REALLY UPSET OVER THIS FEE. I CALLED AND TALKED TO ONE OF THE REPS FOR THIS ORGANIZATION AND TOLD THEM I LIVED IN A MOBILE HOME PARK AND OWNED MY MOBILE HOME BUT NOT THE LAND IT WAS SITTING ON. I HAVE NO SAY ON WHAT I PLANT OR REMOVE FROM MY PROPERTY. THEY TOLD ME THAT THE FEE WAS NOT FOR THE LAND BUT IT WAS FOR THE STRUCTURE ON THE LAND. I TOLD THEM I HAD FIRE INSURANCE FOR MY MOBILE HOME AND THEY SAID IT WAS NOT AN INSURANCE TYPE FEE. IM CONFUSED, IF THE FEE ISNT FOR THE LAND MY HOME IS SITTING ON AND IF IT IS NOT A FEE TO COVER MY HOME THEN WHY AM I BEING CHARGED A FEE FOR LIVING IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY? I CHECKED OUT THE MAP SHOWING WHO HAD TO PAY AND WHO DIDN'T. EXCUSE ME BUT ALL OF FALLBROOK GOT EVACUATED BACK IN 2007. THE BOUNDARY LINE GOES UP GUMTREE WITH ONE SIDE PAYING AND THE OTHER SIDE NOT. WE ALL LIVE IN FALLBROOK WHICH APPARENTLY IS A FIRE ZONE. MATTER A FACT MOST OF SAN DIEGO COUNTY IS A FIRE ZONE. WE ALL ENJOY THE COUNTRY LIVING SO WE ALL SHOULD HAVE TO PAY THE FEE. THE FEE IS SAID TO BE FOR HIRING PEOPLE TO CLEAN UP THE FIRE BRUSH AND TO PRESERVE THE FOREST FOR FUTURE FIRES. IT IS SO WRONG TO CHARGE ONLY A PERCENTAGE OF THE PEOPLE. SPLITTING THE FEE UP BETWEEN ALL OF CALIFORNIA FOR THE LUXURY OF LIVING IN A BEAUTIFUL STATE WOULD PROBABLY REDUCE THE FEE FROM $150 TO EACH RESIDENT TO ABOUT 50 CENTS. MOST OF THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN MY MOBILEHOME PARK ARE ELDERLY AND ON A FIXED BUDGET. THIS FEE IS JUST ANOTHER WAY OUR STATE OFFICIALS ARE TRYING TO GET UP MONEY TO COVER OUR STATE DEBT. I WONDER JUST HOW MANY BIGGIES LIVE IN THE AREAS BEING CHARGED THIS FEE? EVEN IF THEY DO LIVE IN THESE AREAS $150 ISNT ANYTHING TO THEM WITH ALL THE MONEY THEY MAKE EACH YEAR.
Comment Profile ImageJim
Comment #3 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 12:42 pm
Thanks Democrats! We all know Taxifornia citizens just go outside and pick the money off the trees!
Comment Profile ImageLinda
Comment #4 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 1:22 pm
People, the state is broke so Fairy Brown has to raise money to pay for the union pensions, remember the unions do not pay for their retirement we the honest tax payers do. Please use your brain when you vote for President tomorrow. Democrats love to impose taxes (fees) on the middle class and blame it on the Republicans. Next we vote Brown out and get someone who can do some good for this state!
Comment Profile ImageResident
Comment #5 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 1:42 pm
First Jim, this is NOT a tax, but a fee. My gripe is this:
We live in a fire zone so we are being charged a fee because we live in a "high fire" area. So, do the people in East L.A., Oakland, etc. pay a "police fee" because they live in a high crime area? This is not fair for the people in Fallbrook.
I say, when you pay the fee, write "paying under protest" on the check and let's do what we can to reverse this fee. This fee is unfair!
Comment Profile ImageConcerned Senior
Comment #6 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 1:48 pm
Dana,

I think you missed the point of the article. The article pretty clearly states that the "fee" is a scam. It DOESN'T have to make sense or be just. It is the same with Prop 30. The people of California are being robbed. Plan and simple. The public unions have bought the government given them benefits like pensions and healthcare that will suck the taxpayers dry. All these fees and taxes are just a way to keep the game going a little longer. Eventually all the parks and schools will shut down. The prisoners will all be released and every last taxpayer dime will go to provide ex-government work benefits. Stop the taxpayer rape, vote NO on Prop 30 and Yes on Prop 32.
Comment Profile ImageBrookie
Comment #7 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 2:06 pm
@ Resident.....OMG police fee for high crime areas? Won't be long before we get a bill for that one too. This is crazy!
Comment Continued : The comment above was written from the same location.
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Comment Profile ImageBrookie
Comment #8 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 2:08 pm
A while back, there was something about getting billed if you were in an accident and fire/paramedics came out. Again...isn't that their job!!!!!
Comment Profile ImageMark
Comment #9 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm
So, if this is a fee not a tax, then when the next fire's come through Fallbrook and for that matter anywhere in California, then a class action suit will need to be made against the State for failure to fulfill their responsibility for protecting and stopping the wild fire from damaging properties that have paid their "protection fee"! Also, this will carry much strenght since the state will not used the money for fire prevention, property clearence enforcement and most importantly, supporting CalFire.

Pay the fee but include a letter of protest and reminder of the financial responsibility the State has now taken on by collecting this fee. May all the law suits begin. Kick out the Dems ruling California. Now is the Time to come together, rally as one to get the change in politics in this state we all deserve. We can only blame ourselves for letting this happen - Get Out and VOTE! NEXT LET'S START A RECALL ON ca governer brown - nothing but a clown- did we not learn our lesson last time he was governer? He earned his name "Moon Beam" last term for his crazy methods and choices. Are we going to wait until his new name becomes Big Big Loser or are we going to be proactive before this State and Country turns into a third world country?
Comment Profile Imagedefeated
Comment #10 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 3:23 pm
the gov is not broke, let him pay for this stupid fee, what is the fire dept for
Comment Continued : The comment above was written from the same location.
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Comment Profile ImageusedtoluvCA
Comment #11 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 3:27 pm
this is the reason so many large companies leave california, its stupid idea about giving hand-out to the lazy and illeagal and making the struggling working class pay for it
Comment Continued : The comment above was written from the same location.
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Comment Profile Imagevisitor
Comment #12 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 3:29 pm
stop complaning about gov brown, you voted him in again!!!!
Comment Profile ImagePink
Comment #13 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 3:44 pm
Mark you are right on!! Let the state of Californicate know that if they are unable to contain ANY wildfire and any homes and/or property are lost because of the fire the damaged parties will be SUING for any and all damages, including emotional distress. This is just another illegal tax perpetrated by the democratic party against the middle class. Vote Republican tomorrow or don't complain!
Comment Profile Imageupset
Comment #14 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm
let this fee pay for the fire dept and all it pensions
Comment Profile ImageDANA
Comment #15 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm
GW - YOU CAN SEE THE MAP IF YOU GO TO: CA.GOV THEN GO TO : CALIFORNIA FIRE PREVENTION FEE, THEN CLICK ON: SRA LOOK UP, THEN LAUNCH THE VIEWER.
Comment Profile ImageMe
Comment #16 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 4:08 pm
The democrats have been in charge in Sacramento for 25 years. They control BOTH houses......and look at the shape this state is in.

When are Californians going to wake up?
Comment Profile ImageThe Turnip Truck!
Comment #17 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm
I did not vote for any of the "knuckleheads" in Sacramento. Therefore, I did not condone any of their decisions to pass the legislation in favor of this fee. As for Chief Metcalf's comment about Cal Fire's role, I find it hard to believe or comprehend. You must have just fallen off the turnip truck, Chief. I was employed by Cal Fire for several years. As a firefighter, our role was not only to extinguish vegetation fires, but we ALSO saved lives and property, which included structures (homes). You should be ashamed at yourself from stating that Cal Fire's role is not saving homes! I saved countless number of homes when I worked for Cal Fire. Get a clue, Chief Metcalf!
Comment Profile ImageBrookie
Comment #18 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 4:14 pm
I am all for recall of "Bozo"! Can't understand how he got in office again! Sign me up!
Comment Profile ImageOld Fallbrook local
Comment #19 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm
Linda #4 IS RIGHT! The State is broke. CHP has ticket quotas,tthis scam involving Cal-Fire is nothing but another illegal revenue enterprize.

All of this could be avoided if California would impose a resident fee on non American citizens living here. They have been doing this in New Zealand for years, however such a just fee would be called racist in this country.
Comment Profile ImageDANA
Comment #20 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm
I WAS JUST CHECKING OUT THE MAP AGAIN AND I NOTICED THAT ALL OF CAMP PENDELTON WAS NOT LISTED AS A FEE ZONE. CAMP PENDELTON IS QUITE A LARGE AREA AND IF I RECALL RIGHT DOESN'T ALMOST 9/10 OF THE FIRES FALLBROOK HAS START ON CAMP PENDELTON? YES I KNOW CAMP PENDELTON IS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT LAND BUT IF A FIRE STARTS OUT ON PENDELTON AND MOVES INLAND IT WOULD HAVE TO BURN THROUGH THE AREA OF FALLBROOK THAT IS NOT REQUIRED TO PAY THE PREVENTIION FEE TO REACH US IN THE AREA THAT IS BEING CHARGED THE FEE. NOTHING MAKES ANY SENSE !!! ALSO ON THE MAP YOU WILL SEE ALL OF RANCHO BERNANDO IS BEING CHARGED THE FEE BUT NONE OF ITS SURROUNDING CITIES ARE. NEITHER SACRAMENTO OR LA ARE BEING CHARGED EITHER. I REALLY WONDER WHO DID THE LEG WORK TO MAKE UP THIS MAP.
Comment Profile ImagePessimistic
Comment #21 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 4:47 pm
Just another left wing liberal scam to take from the so-called "haves" and relieving the so-called "have nots" from any responsibility to provide financial support to the system! Dana's point that this could be reduced to .50 cents apiece if we all shared in the financial funding of government makes too much sense, ON MANY FIELDS. But, that is not how it works in a socialist nation / state. And when 50% of the population do not pay their share (yes, they get it all back at the end of the year - if they even pay to begin with) you will NEVER fix the problem, because those that support the teat suckers (with the rest of our monies) will always have the percentages in their favor to continuously be elected into office! I despise the parasites in our land! But, I digress and begin to drift off topic (fire fee)...

and Resident posts a GREAT comparison! But, then again the vast majority of those in high crime areas don't contribute a dime to begin with either...
Comment Profile ImageFR86
Comment #22 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 4:51 pm
To those independents out there still sitting on the fence on whether to vote for Romney or Obama...........

This is a typical action of a tax and spend democrat (Brown)so use this action to make your decision. It's no different than your Obamacare fee.
Comment Profile Imagezukieast
Comment #23 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 5:29 pm
This is where you can see all the SRA areas.

http://www.firepreventionfee.org/sraviewer.php
Comment Profile ImageUnpaid Volunteer Fire Fighter
Comment #24 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 5:30 pm
The fee is for habitable structures,yet the article keeps stating inhabitable. Read the notice and the bill. Also read the Jarvis website it explains the way to protest.
This bill is not for protection. It was passed to fill a void in the budget,using wild fires as a scare tactic
Comment Profile ImageBig D from Fallbrook
Comment #25 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 9:02 pm
Another scam to help pay high salaries and pensions to CA union employees, and pay for freebies for illegal immigrants (oh, sorry, I meant future Democratic voters). This scam probably could not have passed as a tax (2/3 vote required), so they named it a “fee”. How clever! I was told on the SRA hotline that this does not cover fire fighting, only fire prevention and education. Basically, that means the crooks in Sacramento will spend this enormous amount of money however they please. California is the most crooked state in the country, where the taxpayers get back as little for their tax dollars as the crooked politicians can get away with. In this state, the synonym for politician is…thief.
Comment Profile ImageMe
Comment #26 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 9:36 pm
Has anybody received their bills yet? I got a letter with SEVEN copies of the same notice telling me to expect a bill.

Nothing like wasting all that postage and copying costs....

I also noticed there is already a whole new bureaucracy filled with more government workers to "administer" the new fee...I mean TAX.
Comment Profile ImageJust another avo farmer
Comment #27 | Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 10:42 pm
November 5, 2012
State of California
Department of Fire and Forestry Prevention


RE: New CalFire Access Fee Schedule

Hello,

As you are aware, the costs associated with compliance with regulations created by the government of your State increase daily. Recently, in response to a lien that you put on my home, I was forced to pay a “CalFire Union Fee” in the amount of $115. This was necessary to prevent a foreclosure of my home. My understanding is that this tax will be used to support pay raises for CalFire employees as well as to union bosses.

In response to the cost of complying with the fees imposed by your State, we have enacted access fees for CalFire. These fees must be paid in United States Currency or gold prior to access to my property. Given the cowardice shown by CalFire during the Rice Canyon fire of 2007 where CalFire employees refused to fight the Rice Canyon Fire, I expect that I will of course never see a CalFire vehicle on my property. Nonetheless, effective immediately, CalFire is prohibited from accessing my property without paying the proper fees.

Please note that this fee schedule is only for Cal Fire. North County Fire of course always has unrestricted access to our property and always has our full support.

Our new fee schedule is below:

Use of my road: $1500 per Cal Fire Brush Engine (Type 4) plus, $150 per CalFire employee.

Gate opening Fee: $200 per vehicle plus $100 per CalFire employee.

Management access fee: $1000 per Chief plus $200 per hour on my property.

Access to my Fire Hydrant: $2000 per connection plus $100 per hour. Partial hours will be billed as full hours. CalFire will also pay for the water at a discounted rate of $0.50 per gallon. CalFire will of course have to provide a meter.

Use of my property to support hoses: $5.00 per foot of hose per hour for any hose that is laid on my property for more than 15 minutes. Partial hours will be billed as full hours.

Access to my property beyond gates: $1500 per Engine plus $150 per Cal Fire Employee plus $500 per hour that CalFire equipment and employees are present on my property. Once on the property, a fee of $200 per vehicle per hour and $150 per employee (really can’t say firefighter because that would insult real firefighters) per hour. Partial hours are billed as full hours.

Aircraft overflight fee: $500 per hour. Partial hours are billed as full hours.

Additional fees for utility vehicles, command vehicles, supervisory personnel and other non-working equipment will be billed at $200 per vehicle per hour.

In addition, there is a 25% premium for fires that occur after 5 pm and before 6 am. A premium of 35% will be charged on weekends. A premium of 50% will be charged on holidays. Holidays are considered the 15 days of the year that people who actually work for a living get as opposed to the 45 California State holidays that CalFire personnel get. (Ground Hog Day? Really?)

If you are unable to pay the fees, which given that average CalFire employee makes at least $250000 per year, seems unlikely, we will of course take your fire engines and equipment in trade, sell them on eBay and of course issue a credit if there is any money left over. Of course we will charge you demurrage on your equipment until the fees are paid.

North County Fire Department, an agency that actually does respond to fires and emergencies, is of course granted full access without any restriction.
Comment Profile Imageworkingclasscityzen
Comment #28 | Tuesday, Nov 6, 2012 at 9:55 am
if you want to improve the budget, stop giving money to welfare recipients who are able to work, stop paying their rent in nice houses, stop giving them food stamps that they trade for money for booze and cigs and drugs and stop making it easy to be an illeagle alien and making this a bi-lingual state. White people can mow lawns and pick fruit as well as anyone else if they are hungry enough.
Comment Profile ImageFR86
Comment #29 | Tuesday, Nov 6, 2012 at 10:22 am
To Just Another Avo Famer,

Touche and well played.

Having a few acres of Avos myself your comments are dead on.

To the rest of California why do you vote for these idiots that just keep adding it on to the taxpayers. By the way that's you.

THINK when you vote!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Comment Profile ImageBrookie
Comment #30 | Tuesday, Nov 6, 2012 at 10:52 am
Just another avo farmer: Well said!!!! Sadly, it will never fly. Wish we could all charge them.
Comment Profile Imageclsbv
Comment #31 | Tuesday, Nov 6, 2012 at 11:10 am
Get people back to work in California so they can pay their taxes. Then balance the budget. Leave our money alone so we can afford to pay for our homes and gas to get to work. The taxes that have been imposed on us will be used for something other than the stated reason. I did not get to vote on this issue and do not want to pay it. I cannot afford to pay it. Its no wonder people are fleeing California.
Comment Profile ImageDANA
Comment #32 | Tuesday, Nov 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm
CAN THEY REALLY TAKE OUR HOME IF WE DONT PAY THIS FEE? I MYSELF HAPPEN TO BE ON UNEMPLOYMENT RIGHT NOW AND HAVE BEEN FOR A COUPLE MONTHS. I CAN BARELY MAKE THE RENT PAYMENT ON THE SPACE I RENT UNDER THE MOBILE HOME I OWN. PLUS THERE ARE SO MANY ELDERLY PEOPLE IN MY PARK THAT ARE ON FIXED INCOMES. FOR THEM HAVING TO PAY THIS FEE WILL RESULT IN THEM HAVING TO GIVE UP SOMETHING ELSE LIKE MAYBE EATING THAT MONTH. THIS FEE SHOULD LIKE I SAID EARLIER BE DIVIDED UP BETWEEN EVERY SINGLE RESIDENT IN CALIFORNIA. ITS A STATES PROBLEM NOT A SINGLED OUT AREA PROBLEM. MAYBE WE ALL COULD GET TOGETHER AND STATE "DISCRIMINATION"
Comment Profile ImagePink
Comment #33 | Tuesday, Nov 6, 2012 at 3:29 pm
It makes absolutely no sense that someone living in a mobile home on a rented space should have to pay this tax (I refuse to call it a fee) it is bad enough that the rest of us have to pay it. Also we (in town) are in the North County Fire Protection District, not Cal Fire. It is just more bureaucratic red tape. The only difference between this tax and being robbed by a masked bandit is that the state didn't use a gun to get our money.
Comment Profile ImageMe
Comment #34 | Tuesday, Nov 6, 2012 at 4:18 pm
At least we agree on this Pink....

(Did you get your bill yet? Was wondering when to expect mine.)
Comment Profile ImageWally
Comment #35 | Tuesday, Nov 6, 2012 at 4:41 pm
Dana, I'll make you a deal. I'll pay your fire tax if you pay my property tax.
Comment Profile ImagePink
Comment #36 | Tuesday, Nov 6, 2012 at 5:10 pm
@Me Not yet. We did receive the bill for our properties in Riverside County. We bought some land years ago and subdivided it into 3 small parcels. Got 3 bills, one for each parcel. If we hadn't split it up we would have gotten one bill instead of three. Joke is on us. (-:
Comment Profile ImageConcerned Senior
Comment #37 | Wednesday, Nov 7, 2012 at 8:26 am
I notice that the pre-printed envelope the BOE sent along with my fire bill is addressed to go to "special TAXES remittance processing". I guess in their rush to grab this money, the state didn't have the time to setup a "FEE processing" division of the BOE.

I see in this morning news that the majority of voters in California and the country have decided that the "Road to Serfdom" is way too slow. Now we all get to ride on the bullet train to serfdom.
Comment Profile ImageIrritated
Comment #38 | Wednesday, Nov 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm
Wally-I too live in a manufactured home in a mobile home park, so we "own" our home, but "rent" the land. Not quite sure why you would make this remark to Dana,
Wally
Comment #35 | Tuesday, Nov 6, 2012 at 4:41 pm
Dana, I'll make you a deal. I'll pay your fire tax if you pay my property tax.

We still pay property taxes. Before you make idiotic statements and insult someone that is down on their luck, educate yourself.
Comment Continued : The comment above was written from the same location.
Post Continued
Comment Profile ImageIrritated
Comment #39 | Wednesday, Nov 7, 2012 at 4:44 pm
Dana,
Hope this helps ease some of the stress of the fee for you:
posted from the firepreventionfee.org website

What if I cannot afford to pay the entire bill? Can I make payments?
Homeowners may file a petition without payment if they are financially unable to pay the amount in full. The Board of Equalization (BOE) advises the owner to make an initial payment of any amount they can reasonably afford, with a note explaining what they are able to pay per month. Another alternative is to call the BOE and speak to collection staff, who will make notes on the account of the payment terms. The BOE is working with callers to make payments over a 5-10 month period if needed. The BOE is sensitive to the many factors to consider such as fixed incomes or unemployment, and these are not business owners but rather private citizens. When any homeowner enters into a payment plan within 45 days of billing and completes the payment of the fee portion, the BOE relieves the penalty charge. Additionally, interest accrues on any unpaid fee amount over the course of the payment plan, but is generally well under a dollar a month. BOE would also like to remind feepayers with an inability to pay their fire fee billing in full that they can call BOE toll-free at 1-800-400-7115, and select option “4,” to be connected to a representative in the special taxes and fees section who can help them arrange a payment plan suitable to each feepayer’s financial situation.
Comment Profile ImageDANA
Comment #40 | Wednesday, Nov 7, 2012 at 9:48 pm
I WANT TO THANK "PINK" AND "IRRITATED" FOR STICKING UP FOR ME AND GIVING ME SOME REALLY GOOD ADVICE. AND WALLY, I PAY PROPERTY TAXES EVERY YEAR. WE USED TO PAY OUR FEES TO THE DMV BUT NOT ANYMORE. WE NOW PAY THEM TO THE DEPT OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT. AT LEAST YOU PAY YOUR PROPERTY TAXES ON PROPERTY YOU OWN, I PAY MY TAXES ON PROPERTY I DON'T OWN. ITS JUST ANOTHER WAY THE GOVERNMENT SQUEEZES OUT MY LAST NICKLE.
Comment Profile ImageFormer Californian
Comment #41 | Wednesday, Nov 7, 2012 at 11:17 pm
I was shocked to receive a fire prevention fee for $115.00 for a Fallbrook home I sold on July 18, 2011. As I'm living out of state I wouldn't have known about this bill if the current homeowner had not forwarded it to me. The fee is for July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012 and was issued October 30, 2012. I went to the SRA site and it says I'm required to pay the entire fee even though I sold the property in the first month the fee was back dated to. To top it all off, my former Fallbrook property is across the street from the fee/non-fee line on the SRA map. I'm hopping mad! I hope I've heard the last from California unless it's a refund of my fee with interest. I will file a Petition for Redetermination. When I went to the SRA site, the petition didn't cover change of ownership except to say that the owner of the property on July 1, 2011 is responsible for the entire fee.
Comment Profile ImageBye Bye California
Comment #42 | Friday, Nov 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm
Hi "Former Californian". Like You, I was shocked to receive this bill. I now live in another state also, but didn't sell my home, instead I lost it to foreclosure. Moved out in 9/2011, and home was auctioned in 3/2012. Like everyone else, I don't want to pay this tax. Since "a lien on my property and possible foreclosure" are not a threat to me, what can they do to me (living in another state and don't own property) if I don't pay.
Just a side note - Didn't pay my last installment on my Property Tax, because it is something that gets passed on to the "new owner" at the auction in a foreclosure. I did keep up my HOA fees because those are a personal debt, and not a debt on the property like Property Taxes.
Comment Profile ImageSick of CA
Comment #43 | Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm
My mother lost everything and her mobile home in the 2007 Rice Cyn. fire. I'm noting that it's all the areas that cost the state $ for fighting the fire, but not any other areas that are high fire risks that are getting the bill. Sempra energy and San Diego Gas has already paid millions in law suits to fire fighting agencies. Why is the state going after the people that are already stressed from fire related trauma?

Mom has another mobile home in the same park and paid the bill as she's afraid of trouble from the state. Would love to get my mother and me the heck out of CA.

Trust me, I've had other issues with the state with "fees" and was told by an attorney that they (State of CA) can do whatever they want, when they want. You have to pay them then try to fight them legally - and it's not easy.

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Fallbrook Village News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.

 

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