Many Unanswered Questions Remain Over New Fire Fee

Many Unanswered Questions Remain Over New Fire Fee

08 July 2011

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USA — A new wildfire protection fee was just signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The new fee is for residents who live in rural areas of the state where Cal Fire is responsible for fire protection.

Each property owner will have to pay a $150 fee for each inhabited structure.

The bill is to ensure rural property owners pay their share of the state’s wildland firefighting costs.

But some homeowners are concerned they will be forced to pay the fee twice.

Many homeowners already pay a fee for local fire protection. But they may be forced to pay the state fee as well because they live in an area that is protected by both their local fire company and Cal Fire.

“We pay enough as it is,” said Becky Wood, who lives near the town of Loomis. “I mean, I can’t believe it’s going to increase again.”

Wood already pays a fee that goes to the Loomis Fire Department. So does Patrician Gould, who lives just a block away.

“It’s concerning because (the new fee) is gong to the state and not the actual local fire district,” said Gould.

Cal Fire said there are a lot of unanswered questions about how this new fee will be assessed, and the agency is trying to find a clear definition for residents.

“A lot of the mechanics have yet to be worked out,” said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for Cal Fire. “The governor, when he signed the bill, set up a working group that would be established to actually look at a lot of the complexities that go into state responsibility areas.”

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