Union Democrat staff

Fire fee or tax?

To the Editor:

AB 129, signed into law July 7, 2011, was not passed by two-thirds margin as required by law. State Responsibility Area is where the state of California is "responsible for the prevention and suppression of wildfires" (S.R.A. brochure, page 1).

How did the state come up with the fee amount of $150? What does the "fee" pay for?

"Brush clearing and activities to improve forest health" (S.R.A. brochure, page 2). This is already being done by Cal Fire and the forest service and is paid for by California general fund, as well as federal government. That comes from property taxes, federal income tax, as well as state income tax.

Who made S.R.A. boundaries? Just because Jamestown is not incorporated does not make it a rural area. I live in a subdivision next to a subdivision adjacent to a ball park, and Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, and 0.8 mile from the fire department and elementary school.

I would like a breakdown of money spent by Cal Fire, administration, pensions, retirement and actual fire fighting costs.

In Tuolumne County alone, 25,5774 homes have been billed, and at $115 per structure the total comes to $2,964,010. At $150 per structure the total comes to $3,866,100. There are 57 other counties that have 857,852 structures billed. What in God's name is Cal Fire going to do with all that money?!

If this is a fee homeowners should get something in return. I'm already paying for these services. I'm not getting anything extra in return. I'm tired of our taxpayers' money going to waste.

YCCD just put a million dollar welding/ auto body lab with a $60,000 paint booth. Four classes filled for four semesters before the auto body program was shut down. What a travesty! It will take 43 years to pay off this bond.

If you send your check to pay these "fees," it goes into an envelope printed "Special Taxes Remittance Processing."

Tim Bratten