Many of you have received a bill from the State Board of Equalization for what the State of California calls a Fire Prevention Fee. If you live in a state designated State Responsibility Area you received this bill even though you are in and pay taxes to the El Dorado Hills Fire Department. You did not receive a bill if you live in a state designated Local Responsibility Area. Your El Dorado County Board of Supervisors believes that this is an illegal tax and has taken two courses of action.
The first action was a letter to the State Board of Equalization requesting that they suspend the imposition of all penalties provided for in Section 4225 of the Public Resource Code the coming fiscal year. We have also recently joined with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, as a plaintiff, in a lawsuit challenging the validity of this tax. This tax has been imposed on rural areas of California by urban legislators from the cities in an effort to balance the state budget on your back.
Cal Fire and your fire department had nothing to do with this tax; they just have to live under the law as passed. In many areas of the county this tax has put a financial strain of fixed income families and retirees. Even the county’s homeless shelter on Perks Court was assessed with this tax.
We are fortunate in that we have Assemblywoman Beth Gaines, Assemblywoman Alyson Huber and Senator Ted Gaines who are working to oppose this tax. All three have had our best interest in mind and, if you have a chance, please express your appreciation of their efforts.
Your county officials are doing what they can do within the county’s jurisdiction. Now the question is what should you do? It is my recommendation that you pay the tax under protest to prevent penalties and fees. This will give you standing in a court of law as this is what the county is doing for its affected properties and also on your behalf. For information on where to send your tax payment and how to write your protest letter the county has set up information for you on its website.
For specific information on what to do please go to the county website at co.el-dorado.ca.us and click on the link titled CA Fire Fee Information. This has all the information you will need. This information was put together by the county’s legal staff, county assessor and county tax collector.
The most important thing to remember is that this is a TAX not a FEE.
I hope this article is helpful to you as I have had many requests for information. I welcome any ideas or questions you may have. Please send them to me via email at [email protected] and I will make sure that myself and staff takes a serious look at them.
Until next time be well and God Bless.