SRA Fee "Urgent Notices"
updated: Nov 01, 2012, 5:13 PM
Source: Montecito Fire Protection
Montecito Fire District's Response to SRA Fee "Urgent Notices"
Hi Ed Hat,
Many residents in Montecito live within the SRA lands. SRA lands are lands in which the state assumes
primary financial responsibility for protecting natural resources and watershed from damages from fire.
Montecito residents living in these designated areas have been receiving a notice labeled in red as
"Ugent Notice" from the State Board of Equalization (BOE). The notice is alerting them that a fee will be
levied for fire prevention services. The notice advises them that they will be charged $150 for each
habitable structure on their property. Montecito residents will receive a $35 discount in the fee,
reducing it to $115. This reduction is given because they are also within the boundaries of an organized
This fee is a result of a legislative trailer bill, Assembly Bill X1 29. The Fire Districts Association of
California (FDAC) has actively opposed the bill on behalf of its fire district members since the idea was
presented a few years ago as a way to generate additional revenues for the state.
The funds collected from this fee will go directly to CALFire. This fee is NOT an assessment from
Montecito Fire District, and Montecito Fire will receive none of these funds from CALFire for services or
fire prevention activities in our community.
Montecito Fire Protection District Board of Directors adopted a resolution on August 20, 2012 opposing
the newly implemented "State Responsibility Area" (SRA) fees, which will impose additional financial
burden on its constituents without providing additional fire services.
"It has always been the Board's desire to avoid imposing additional taxes or fees upon the District's
constituents," said Roy Jenson, Montecito Fire District Board President. "We want to make it clear that
this new fee is not imposed by the District, and will not directly benefit the community in any way."
Requests for exemption or clarification should be directed to CALFire and the BOE. Their contact
information can be found here. You can also call 888-310-6447.
To see if a parcel is within the SRA enter in the parcel address in the BOF's State Responsibility Area
Viewer, you can go to:
Montecito Fire District Resolution 2012-07 regarding the negative impact of SRA Fees as a result of the
adoption of Assembly Bill X1 29 can be found on our website:
State Fire Prevention Fee Frequently Asked Questions can be found at:
The following Press Release was provided by Jennifer Kerns (619) 433-9517, and Jon Coupal (916) 444-
9950 of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Associationon October 4, 2012:
HJTA Files Class Action Lawsuit against Fire Tax
Class Action could qualify 825,000 property owners for a Fire Tax refund.
Sacramento - Today the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed a class action lawsuit to provide relief
to nearly one million California property owners who received bills from the State for a new "fire
prevention fee" which the lawsuit claims is illegal.
The class action complaint, filed today in Superior Court in Sacramento, seeks to overturn the fire fee,
which costs property owners an additional $150 per year for each habitable structure on their property.
The class action names plaintiffs from Kern County, Mendocino County, Calaveras County, Butte County,
San Bernardino County, Solano County, San Luis Obispo County, El Dorado County, and Lassen County,
who together represent a cross-section of the roughly 825,000 property owners subject to the new fee.
As the state's largest taxpayers' association, HJTA is challenging the constitutionality of the fee on the
grounds it is really a tax that needed a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to pass, but garnered only a
bare majority and therefore never became law.
The complaint was filed against the California Department of Forestry and the Board of Equalization, as
the two agencies responsible for identifying owners of the parcels subject to the new tax and collecting
the tax, respectively. If the class action suit is successful, approximately 825,000 homeowners could be
eligible for refunds.
"This tax was dreamed up by politicians in Sacramento who are so desperate for revenue that they were
willing to ram this through the Legislature without the proper two-thirds vote," said Jon Coupal,
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. "The fire tax is a direct violation of Prop. 13. It is
our goal to overturn this tax, prevent the politicians from taking more money from hardworking people
for a program they were already paying for, and help taxpayers to get a refund from the government."
To be eligible for a refund, property owners must first pay their bill, then file a protest with the State.
HJTA has established a website that shows how to protest the fee and provides the necessary forms.
Property owners can also sign up for free e-mail bulletins that will keep them informed of the progress
of the class action suit.
For more information, the public may visit www.HJTA.org and click on the "Fire Tax Protest" banner.
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