What is the State Responsibility Area (SRA) Fire Prevention Fee? SUSPENDED until 2031!
THE GOOD - This means next May you will not get a bill from the State for $117.33! And hopefully this will help efforts for local fire districts to gain passage of increased taxes in support of local fire suppression, emergency medical aid and rescue operations.
As most of you know, our local Higgins Fire District has suffered defeat of several attempts to increase the $25 annual tax in order to fully staff all three stations year around.
In order to garner the necessary support of Republicans in the state Assembly to pass the latest Cap and Trade Climate program bill, the Governor and Democratic lawmakers conceded to suspend the Cal FIRE Prevention Fee until 2031.
THE BAD - The Cap and Trade Climate program in which this Fee suspension is riding, could raise gas prices as much as 73 cents (on top of the recent 12 cent gas tax hike)! This is because of the requirement in the new bill for oil companies and other polluters to buy permits to release greenhouse gases. Guess who will ultimately pay for this?!
THE UGLY - Gasoline consumers will be paying extra at the pump,
See The Union newspaper articles for more information at: http://www.theunion.com/news/local-news/californias-climate-change-program-would-suspend-controversial-fire-fee/
BACKGROUND on the SRA Fire Prevention Fee
The SRA Fire Prevention Fee was enacted by AB X1 29 in July 2011, to pay for fire prevention activities across the State. The fee is applied to all habitable structures within the State Responsibility Area (SRA). The SRA is defined as any properties in the State that are not under the jurisdiction of an incorporated city or town or within federally owned lands. All properties in the Higgins Fire District are within the SRA.
Effective July 1, 2015, the fee has been levied at the rate of $117.33 per habitable structure within the boundaries of a local fire protection agency.
Otherwise, the fee is $152.33. This fee can be adjusted annually by the State Forestry and Fire Protection Board.
These funds are not available to local fire districts.
The funds support the following Statewide activities [Source: Informational Report for the State Responsibility Area Prevention Fee - published June 15, 2016 by FirePreventionFee.org]:
- Fire Prevention projects and activities
- California Conservation Camp (CCC) prevention activities and projects.
- Land Use Planning
- Fire Hazard and Fire Severity Mapping
- SRA Fire Prevention Fund Grant Program [for instance, to local Fire Safe Councils for vegetation treatment projects and education programs towards the reduction of wildfire risks.]
- Vegetation Management Programs (VMPs)
Below is a pie chart of five-year state-wide total expenditures between 2012 through 2015 (actuals) and 2016 (projected as of May of 2016).
The Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit contributed $31.4 million or 10.5 % of the $298,200,854.21 collected in these five years.
$6.8 million or 21% was not spent as of May 2016 in our Unit.