To help insure the sustainability of fire protection in The Sea Ranch and Annapolis communities by: Keeping more of our local property tax dollars for use here, where they are generated Providing local control of those fire protection funds, and our local fire department operations To sustain our CALFIRE contract by redirecting dollars that used to go to Sonoma County Fire Services (CSA40). Despite the challenges of forming a district, the risks for not doing so were even greater.
An independent district has its own publicly elected governing board. A dependent district (CSA 40 is a dependent district) is governed by the county Board of Supervisors. Forming an independent Fire Protection District (FPD), and separating from Sonoma County Fire Service (CSA40), allowed us to keep all of our tax dollars allocated for fire protection (except what is lost to ERAF) here, to be managed by the district, and eliminated the loss of funds to CSA 40 administrative overhead. It put management of funds, and fire department operations, in local hands.
The service provided by our volunteer and career firefighters has been excellent, but the earlier funding mechanism in place was not sustainable. For some years, the amount of fire protection funds allocated by Sonoma County Fire Service (CSA40) to "Fire Service Area - Sea Ranch" was less than the expenses of Sea Ranch Fire operations and the contract with CALFIRE for local year-round staffing. The "fund balance" maintained by CSA 40 for the Sea Ranch fire service area was decreasing. If this trend continued, something would have had to change: additional taxes, or changed service.
The district formation is complete; the formation date was April 1, 2016.
The primary source of funding is the real property taxes paid by properties within this service area (The Sea Ranch, Annapolis, and Stewart's Point, a total of 172 square miles).
19.2% of the "proposition 13" property tax funds from The Sea Ranch area are initially allocated to fire protection, with much smaller percentages allocated from the rest of the district. Due to a long and complex history of state and county legislation, less than 40% of the resulting funds were actually allocated back to pay expenses for local fire protection. Now that district formation is complete, tax funds allocated to fire protection will flow to the district instead of County Service Area #40. The overhead that used to go to CSA 40 now (approx 15% of our total fire protection funds before ERAF is taken out) will stay with the district.
No. There is presently NO line item specifically for fire protection on our property tax bills. All funds that go to fire protection come from the base "proposition 13", 1% property tax. District formation did not change this. The allocation to fire protection, from the "1%", for the three Tax Rate Areas (TRAs) on The Sea Ranch, is considerably higher (19.2%) than in other areas, because there WAS a line item for fire protection in our three TRAs prior to the passage of proposition 13. A district has the power to request an additional line item tax; such a tax would, of course, have to be voted in by voters in the district, in a general election. The choice would be ours.
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Each registered voter within the proposed North Sonoma Coast Fire Protection District boundary was eligible to sign. Signatures were gathered in July and August of 2015.
No. This (approximately $150) annual fee funds a variety of fire prevention services in the State Responsibility Area (SRA). SRA forms one large area across California in which CALFIRE provides a basic level of wildland fire prevention services. The state fire prevention "fee" is completely unrelated to our local property taxes, our local fire departments, district formation, etc. You can read more about SRA in firepreventionfee.org.
No. The "State Responsibility Area (SRA) Fire Prevention Benefit Fee", an Assembly Bill created a (approximately $150) annual fee for habitable structures in State Responsibility Areas (SRAs). All of the district area is within the SRA and therefore the fee applies. Our area receives a $35 fee reduction because we are served by a fire district (NSCFPD); this is ununchanged from before formation, when these areas were within the dependent district of County Service Area #40. More information can be found at State Fire Prevention Fee.