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This past week, Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield introduced a special session bill relative to state responsibility areas (SRA) and fire protection fees.
This measure, ABx1 24, would revise and recast these SRA fee provisions instead to, among other things, require the board to adopt emergency regulations to establish and administer fire protection fees in specified amounts, but not in an amount that would exceed the reasonable costs of providing fire protection services. Specifically, the bill would require a fee of $1 per acre owned for the first 100 contiguous acres, and lesser amounts per acre for land over 100 contiguous acres, but a total amount not to exceed $3,000 for 10,000 or more acres owned. In addition, the bill would require a fee of not less than $175 for one building or structure on land in an SRA and $25 for each subsequent building or structure, with a $25 credit for those property owners who are located in an established fire protection district.
As you may recall, a bill very similar to this was passed in June as part of the budget deal and is currently being challenged by referendum. ABx1 24, was introduced as a result of a recent Board of Forestry meeting at which they pointed out several drafting mistakes in the June version. This bill was introduced in an effort to fix those drafting errors and prevent such errors as double payment and provide the Board the authority to exempt some individuals from the fee.
This bill does not address or change any of the issues previously raised as concerns by the insurance industry.