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Fire-protection fee bills start going out to California residents

August 13, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Bills for a new annual fire-protection fee impacting more than 800,000 Californians start going out on Monday.

The fee is projected to raise about $84 million for fire prevention efforts. It was passed by Democrats in the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year.

The annual charge could cost homeowners up to $150, but most will get a $35 discount if they already pay a local fire protection tax.

The fee is charged mainly to rural residents, who live in areas prone to wildfires. Many of those residents are angry about the fee.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association also opposes the fee and plans to file a lawsuit claiming that it's unconstitutional. It said the fee is actually a tax, which requires a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to enact.

The bills are being sent to counties in alphabetical order, so residents of Alameda, Alpine and Amador counties will be first in line.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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