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Hundreds Attend Fire Fee Town Hall on Ridge

By Colin Steiner, csteiner@krcrtv.com
Published On: May 01 2013 12:56:22 AM CDT
Hundreds Attend Fire Fee Town Hall on Ridge

A packed house of residents showed up Tuesday night for a town hall meeting in Magalia on the state rural fire fee.

A packed house of residents showed up Tuesday night for a town hall meeting in Magalia on the state rural fire fee.

Also in attendance were Congressman Doug LaMalfa, State Senator Jim Nielsen and other local officials.

Residents of the area were there to hear what their representatives had to say about the fire fee that charges rural property owner $150 a year for fire protection.

They also showed up to voice their opinions on a fee that's been called unconstitutional because opponents say it amounts to an "illegal" tax.

Politicians and the more than one hundred residents who crammed into the Upper Ridge Volunteer Fire Company meeting hall seemed to agree that the fire fee is just a money grab.

And the frustration of residents on the ridge did not go unnoticed.

"They're upset (at) the insatiable appetite of their government for more money," Sen. Nielsen said.

Nielsen added that it boils down to a mismanagement of tax payer dollars, which frustrates residents because they're "not receiving any benefit from it."

Magalia resident John Hoffman agreed with that.

"It's an irritation," Hoffman said. "It's, you know, one more thing where money is mismanaged and the people who represent us just try to solve all the problems by grabbing more money."

The good news for rural residents is the fire fee has been suspended for 2012-13.

The state is wading through roughly 90,000 citizen appeals.

And a lawsuit has also been filed by the Howard Jarvis Tax Payers Association, who says the fee is actually an "illegal" tax.

One of the groups representatives was on hand to talk about that lawsuit.

And while the state looks at whether to move forward with the fee in the future, residents on the ridge want to make sure their voices are heard.

In that way, they're doing what they can to make certain the rural fire fee never returns.