Sacramento, CA — Last month, the state began collecting an annual fire prevention fee from homeowners in the 31 million acres protected by Calfire. The State Board of Equalization sent out notices alphabetically by county. All Calaveras residents should have received the notice that their fee is now due. Notices have been sent to approximately half of California’s 58 counties so far. Alphabetically Tuolumne is the fourth to the last county on the list.
The fee is $150 per habitable structure, owners within the boundaries of a local fire protection agency pay $35 less per structure. The bill is to be paid by the person who owned the home on July 1st of the year for which the fee is due. That owner must pay the fee for the year regardless if the home is sold or uninhabitable after that date. If the bill is not paid interest will accrue on the debt in the amount of .05% per month.
The fee was passed as part of the 2011-2012 state budget on July 7, 2011. It is expected to raise over $80 million a year to pay for Calfire activities in the State Responsibility Area (SRA). The SRA is the area of the state where the State of California is financially responsible for the prevention and suppression of wildfires. For more information and to see if your home is in the State Responsibility Area go to www.firepreventionfee.org.
Daniel Berlant, Information Officer for Calfire says 26,000 bills will be sent out to Tuolumne county home owners. According to Insurance Information Network of California, Tuolumne County has 31,244 homes with 80% at high risk from damage by wildfires.
Calaveras county has 27,925 homes with 66% at high risk and 23% at moderate risk for damage by wildfires. Berlant said that just over 23,000 bills were sent out to home owners.