Fire prevention bills to be mailed to SLO County residents in November

Bills for fire prevention services will go out to nearly 30,000 San Luis Obispo County households from Nov. 8 to 13, according to a mailing schedule just posted on the California Board of Equalization website.

State officials began mailing the fee notices, ranging from $115 to $150, on Aug. 13 to Alameda County property owners, and are progressing through counties in alphabetical order. The last bills are due to go out to Yuba county Dec. 10 to 11.

All San Luis Obispo County bills will be for $115, as residents of rural and unincorporated areas already pay taxes towards local firefighting services.

The county had 117,000 housing units in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, so the bills will go to about 25 percent of county residences.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed a lawsuit Oct. 4 saying the bills are a tax, not a fee, and are illegal because they did not receive the two-thirds legislative approval needed for new taxes when it was passed in 2011.

Anyone who wants to appeal their bill can go to www.firepreventionfee.org or call 888-310-6447, according to county Fire Chief Rob Lewin. That website also has a map of areas covered by the fee.

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