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SRA Fees
updated: Nov 08, 2012, 4:00 PM

Source: Santa Barbara County

State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Benefit Fees

This week many Santa Barbara County residents have begun receiving a new bill in the mail from the State of California Board of Equalization. The State Responsibility Fire Prevention Benefit Fee (SRA Benefit Fee) was a part of Assembly Bill x1 29 which was signed into law on July 7, 2011.

The $150 fee per habitable structure is intended to fund new fire prevention programs in areas where the State of California is financially responsible for the prevention and suppression of wild fires. The SRA does not include land within incorporated cities or in federal ownership. The Santa Barbara County Fire Protection District does provide fire protection for the State Responsibility Area in Santa Barbara County under a contract with CAL FIRE. Owners of habitable structures within the Santa Barbara County, Carpinteria/Summerland or Montecito Fire Protection Districts will receive a $35 per habitable structure discount.

If you believe your bill contains an error, you may file a Petition for Redetermination of your SRA Benefit Fee with the State of California. A Petition for Redetermination must be filed within 30 days from the date of the bill. Some examples of what might be included in a Petition for Redetermination could be whether the structures are outside the State Responsibility Area or the number of habitable structures is accurate or whether the property is in an area that receives local fire protection services.

If you would like more information on the SRA Benefit Fee or to obtain a Petition for Redetermination of your fees, please call the State Fire Prevention Fee Service Center at 1-888-310-6447 or visit the website at FirePreventionFee.org. State staff is available Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm, except state holidays.

If you have questions on where to send your payment or to discuss payment arrangements, please call the State Board of Equalization at 1-800-400-7115 Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm, except state holidays.

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors is interested in receiving more information on the SRA Benefit Fee and is requesting that CAL FIRE provide a presentation during December at a regularly scheduled Board meeting.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 340727 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-08 04:37 PM

This is an illegal tax...just appeal it...There are plenty of organization that feel that this is an illegal tax which is what it is. Don't pay it....file and appeal...check this link for detail on how to do it...just search for calfirefee website and download the apeal information.


 COMMENT 340737 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-08 04:57 PM

It says you have to pay then appeal, or they can add penalties and even put a lien/foreclosure on your property


 COMMENT 340825P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-08 10:16 PM

how do you appeal the # of structures on the property? I live on an acre and they asessed me as having two structures, (as in, I could legally build a granny sometime in the future, perhaps, maybe?) This is not fair, I only have one habitable structure. Is it possible to appeal this somehow?

Anyone with accurate knowledge on this matter?--no smarypants need reply.


 COMMENT 340862 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 07:07 AM

Very interesting. I lost my home in the Painted Cave fire and my mother lost her home in the Jesusita fire. I didn't see anyone from the state down here fighting those fires and saving our homes. There were many other local jurisdiction who were here fighting local fires over the years under mutual aid agreements, so exactly what am I paying the state for, other than another six figure bureaucratic do-nothing "job" complete with agency staff and overhead? A position that will be given to some termed out elected official to have a meeting two or three times a year at the taxpayers expense!.
I think we should defer some of these fire suppression costs by holding a lottery at $5.00 a ticket to see who comes the closest to guessing how big this state agency will be, how much the head political hack will get paid, including fringe benefits, and how little they will do!


 COMMENT 340874 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 07:24 AM

I had some lefty tell me "maybe California is not for you" after the election. I think every single business owner in this state should consider this.


 COMMENT 341056 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 01:23 PM

Cal-fire contracts with SB County Fire for service in SRA's. The initial response to small fires is the responsibility of SB Co. Fire. In bigger fires, such as the Jesusita and Tea fires, there were Cal-Fire Incident Management teams assigned to the Unified Command Teams. These teams are Type 1 teams (the highest rating possible) and consist of 10-15 members. During the Zaca Fire one of the Cal-fire incident management teams was sent to SB for two weeks to develop a plan in case the Zaca fire come over the ridge and down into SB. That plan cost $3M to develop. A year later, that plan was put in to action in the Gap fire and then two more times within a year for the Tea and Jesusita fires. Without the Cal-Fire plan the result of the fires would have been a lot worse. Also, even though there were many other juristictions who assisted in all the fires, Cal-Fire (the State) pays for the costs of to fight fires in SRA's. I believe the Cal-fire cost of the Jesusita fire was around $17M.


 COMMENT 341164 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 08:19 PM

The Painted Cave fire was over in less than 15 hours. The only fire crews that came into our totally incinerated 100+ home community, was a crew from Glendale. If anyone from the state ever came it was too late to do anything. As far as the Zaca fire went, it was almost enirely in the federal Las Padres Forrest. I don't believe any "habitable dwellings" were lost, or for that matter even located in the fire area. Past experience would lead any sensible person to recognize that whenever the state is creating a new huge beauracracy with the power to impose another tax for services already paid for by the tremendous amounts of property taxes we all must pay, that it is likely a boondoggle designed to gin up more bureaucrats and appointees to earn 6 figure incomes to positions held by termed out politicians who want to keep their nose in the public trough.


 COMMENT 341193P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-10 02:07 AM

CalFIRE has responded and assisted on all of the past fires - (Gap, Tea, Jesusita) however, this fee does not go towards their efforts to fight fires. This fee goes toward fire prevention, and the costs associated with collecting and the fee. If it actually augmented the responses to fires, it would be easier to swallow. But it does not do that.

825P - They probably just made a mistake on your bill. They are only supposed to charge for existing "habitable" structures. (Not the possibility of future structures.) You should call them at the number listed in the original post, and have them correct your billing.

056 - CalFIRE does respond to assist with fires in SRA lands, but they do not pay for all of the costs associated with fighting fires in SRA lands - they are only responsible for protecting "watershed" - which does not include structure protection.


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