2005 California Government Code Sections 50078-50078.20 Article 3.6. Fire Suppression AssessmentsGOVERNMENT CODE
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 uses. 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 50078.6. 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 benefit. 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 treasury. 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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