2005 California Government Code Sections 50078-50078.20 Article 3.6. Fire Suppression Assessments

SECTION 50078-50078.20

50078.  Any local agency which provides fire suppression services
directly or by contract with the state or a local agency may, by
ordinance or by resolution adopted after notice and hearing,
determine and levy an assessment for fire suppression services
pursuant to this article.  The assessment may be made for the purpose
of obtaining, furnishing, operating, and maintaining fire
suppression equipment or apparatus or for the purpose of paying the
salaries and benefits of firefighting personnel, or both, whether or
not fire suppression  services are actually used by or upon a parcel,
improvement, or property.
50078.1.  As used in this article:
   (a) "Legislative body" means the board of directors, trustees,
governors, or any other governing body of  a local agency specified
in subdivision (b).
   (b) "Local agency" means any city, county, or city and county,
whether general law or chartered, or special district, including a
county service area created pursuant to the County Service Area Law,
Chapter 2.2 (commencing with Section 25210.1) of Part 2 of Division 2
of Title 3.
   (c) "Fire suppression" includes firefighting and fire prevention,
including, but not limited to, vegetation removal or management
undertaken, in whole or in part, for the reduction of a fire hazard.
50078.2.  (a) The ordinance or resolution shall establish uniform
schedules and rates based upon the type of use of property and the
risk classification of the structures or other improvements on, or
the use of, the property.  The risk classification may include, but
need not be limited to, the amount of water required for fire
suppression on that property, the structure size, type of
construction, structure use, and other factors relating to potential
fire and panic hazards and the costs of providing the fire
suppression by the district to that property.  The assessment shall
be related to the benefits to the property assessed.
   (b) The benefit assessment levies on land devoted primarily to
agricultural, timber, or livestock uses, and being used for the
commercial production of agricultural, timber, or livestock products,
shall be related to the relative risk to the land and its products.
The amount of the assessment shall recognize normal husbandry
practices that serve to mitigate risk, onsite or proximate water
availability, response time, capability of the fire suppression
service, and any other factors which reflect the benefit to the land
resulting from the fire suppression service provided.  A benefit
assessment shall not be levied for wildland or watershed fire
suppression on land located in a state responsibility area as defined
in Section 4102 of the Public Resources Code.  This subdivision is
not applicable to any benefit assessment levied prior to January 1,
1984, on land devoted primarily to agricultural, timber, or livestock
50078.3.  Any ordinance or resolution adopted by a local agency
pursuant to this article establishing uniform schedules and rates for
assessments for fire suppression services which substantially
conforms with the model ordinance which the State Fire Marshal is
authorized to adopt pursuant to Section 13111 of the Health and
Safety Code shall be presumed to be in compliance with the
requirements of Section 50078.2.
50078.4.  The legislative body of the local agency shall cause to be
prepared and filed with the clerk of the local agency a written
report which shall contain all of the following:
   (a) A description of each lot or parcel of property proposed to be
subject to the assessment.
   (b) The amount of the assessment for each lot or parcel for the
initial fiscal year.
   (c) The maximum amount of the assessment which may be levied for
each lot or parcel during any fiscal year.
   (d) The duration of the assessment.
   (e) The basis of the assessment.
   (f) The schedule of the assessment.
   (g) A description specifying the requirements for protest and
hearing procedures for the proposed assessment pursuant to Section
50078.5.  (a) The legislative body may establish zones or areas of
benefit within the local agency and may restrict the imposition of
assessments to areas lying within one or more of the zones or areas
of benefit established within the local agency.
   (b) The benefit assessment shall be levied on a parcel, class of
improvement to property, or use of property basis, or a combination
thereof, within the boundaries of the local agency, zone, or area of
   The assessment may be levied against any parcel, improvement, or
use of property to which such services may be made available whether
or not the service is actually used.
50078.6.  The clerk of the local agency shall cause the notice,
protest, and hearing procedures to comply with Section 53753.  The
mailed notice shall also contain the name and telephone number of the
person designated by the legislative body to answer inquiries
regarding the protest proceedings.
50078.13.  The local agency shall pay the county for costs, if any,
incurred by the county in conducting the election.  An election
called by a legislative body pursuant to this article is subject to
all provisions of the Elections Code applicable to elections called
by the local agency.  The local agency may recover the costs of the
election and any other costs of preparing and levying the assessment
from the proceeds of the assessment.
50078.16.  The legislative body may provide for the collection of
the assessment in the same manner, and subject to the same penalties
as, other fees, charges, and taxes fixed and collected by, or on
behalf of the local agency.  If the assessments are collected by the
county, the county may deduct its reasonable costs incurred for that
service before remittal of the balance to the local agency's
50078.17.  Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 860) of Title 10 of
Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure applies to any judicial action
or proceeding to validate, attack, review, set aside, void, or annul
an ordinance or resolution levying an assessment or modifying or
amending an existing ordinance or resolution.
   If an ordinance or resolution provides for an automatic adjustment
in an assessment, and the automatic adjustment results in an
increase in the amount of an assessment, any action or proceeding to
attack, review, set aside, void, or annul the increase shall be
commenced within 90 days of the effective date of the increase.
   Any appeal from a final judgment in the action or proceeding
brought pursuant to this section shall be filed within 30 days after
entry of the judgment.
50078.19.  This article does not limit or prohibit the levy or
collection of any other fee, charge, assessment, or tax for fire
suppression services authorized by any other provisions of law.
50078.20.  Any fire protection district may specifically allocate a
portion of the revenue generated pursuant to this article to pay the
interest and that portion of the principal as will become due on an
annual basis on indebtedness incurred pursuant to Section 8589.13 of
this code and Section 13906 of the Health and Safety Code.

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