Property owners in unincorporated El Dorado County currently pay $20 a year so the Lake-Valley Fire Protection District can reduce wildfire danger with crews and wood chipping to remove fuel. That tax ends next year and Measure H on the November ballot would replace it with an annual charge of $120 per property. Julie Regan of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency says increasing property taxes to pay for fuel reduction is becoming common.
“I think that all local fire agencies, there are 7 local fire districts are looking at this because federal and state funds are going away. We know our public sources of funds are shrinking.”
Regan says if Measure H passes, the revenue could be matched by federal and state funds to enhance fire prevention.
Under Ballot Measure H, wildfire prevention costs for homeowners in unincorporated El Dorado County would increase dramatically. The current charge of $20 a year is expiring. Measure H would replace it with a charge of $120 per property annually. The Lake Valley Fire Protection District on the west shore of Lake Tahoe uses the money to pay for a fire crew and free curb-side chipping.
“All these programs could go away if measure H doesn’t pass because of reduced state and
Regan says of Measure H passes the revenue it generates would leverage matching state and federal funds.
Two other fire protection districts in the Tahoe area already ad wildfire prevention costs to property tax bills. Four other fire agencies are considering similar measures in the basin.