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 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 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, click here or call the State Fire Prevention Fee Service Center at 888.310.6447. State staff is available between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except state holidays.
If you have questions on where to send your payment or to discuss payment arrangements, call the State Board of Equalization at 800.400.7115 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 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.
— Dennis Bozanich represents the County Executive Office.