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Service Zone FP-5

OVERVIEW: The Board of Directors of the San Bernardino County Fire Protection District has passed a resolution (2018-99) to expand the boundaries of Service Zone FP-5.

PUBLIC INFORMATION:

The San Bernardino County Fire Protection District Board of Directors listened to more than four hours of public testimony on Tuesday, Oct. 16, before deciding on a 3-2 vote, with board members Robert Lovingood and Janice Rutherford in opposition, to expand the boundaries of Fire Service Area FP-5 to include Grand Terrace, Yucca Valley, and all unincorporated areas not already receiving fire and emergency medical services from other districts, except for unincorporated areas within Montclair’s sphere of influence. Service Zone FP-5 had previously included Helendale, San Antonio Heights and the cities of San Bernardino, Needles, Twentynine Palms and Upland.

The district is currently operating under a $29 million shortfall, the only alternatives other than expanding the Service Zone FP-5 were severe cuts to fire services or continuing to subsidize fire services in some communities with funds collected from property owners in other areas of the County. The San Bernardino County Fire Protection District provides fire, rescue and emergency medical services to residents throughout the entire county. The district covers 19,278 of the county’s 20,053 square miles and serves more than 1 million people throughout the County.

The decision by the Fire District Board, will now provide a healthy stream of revenue to maintain current first-responder services throughout the Fire District and help move the organization towards financial stability for the future. These tax dollars will begin flowing into the County Fire Protection District next year.


FP-5 Presentation

Current Situation

Commitment

The San Bernardino County Fire Protection District provides fire and emergency medical services (EMS) to residents throughout the entire County, covering 19,278 square miles and serving more than 60 communities/cities. The only exceptions being cities that have their own fire departments, cities that contract with other fire departments, and areas receiving these services through special districts.

Financial Outlook

The San Bernardino County Fire Protection District is currently operating at a $29 million dollar budget shortfall. The Fire Protection Board of Directors, as well as the County Fire Protection Districts Fire Chief, believe that expanding Service Zone FP-5 is the best way to fill this budget gap while maintaining existing service levels.

Solution

Currently, property tax revenues are insufficient to cover the costs of providing fire and emergency medical services, each legal parcel within Service Zone FP-5 is assessed an annual parcel fee. The current assessment is set at $157.26/year, and can increase up to 3% each year.

Process

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, sitting as the Board of Directors of the San Bernardino County Fire Protection District, has initiated a process to expand the boundaries of Service Zone FP-5 countywide. Included would be:

  • All unincorporated county areas, except those already receiving fire and EMS through other districts and except unincorporated areas within the sphere of influence of the City of Montclair.
  • The cities of Grand Terrace, Upland, and the Town of Yucca Valley.
  • For a legal description of all Inclusions & Exclusions, see Attachment A.

Important Fact

Landowners within the Service Zone FP-5 Expansion will see the $157.26 Service Fee on their property tax bill starting in November 2019.

Service Zone Map

Current FP and PM Fee Schedules

The information below illustrates the difference in what is currently being paid today in areas throughout the county and what would be assessed under the Service Zone FP-5 expansion. If the area you live in is not listed below, you currently do not pay any assessment to the County Fire Protection District and if the FP-5 expansion is approved, will pay the full assessment of $157.26 per year. The following areas currently pay a special assessment to the San Bernardino County Fire Protection District:

    18/19
Current Amount
18/19
FP-5 Amount
Monthly
Difference
Annual
Difference
Paramedic Special Tax
PM-1 Lake Arrowhead $17.00 $157.26 $11.68 $140.26
PM-2 Highland unincorporated area - individual dwelling unit $19.00 $157.26 $11.52 $138.26
  Highland unincorporated area - commercial unit $38.00 $157.26 $9.93 $119.26
PM-3 Yucaipa unincorporated area - individual dwelling unit $24.00 $157.26 $11.10 $133.26
  Yucaipa unincorporated area - commercial unit $35.00 $157.26 $10.18 $122.26
PM-4 Crestline - undeveloped parcel $24.50 $157.26 $11.06 $132.76
  Crestline - individual dwelling unit $39.50 $157.26 $9.81 $117.76
  Crestline - commercial unit $45.00 $157.26 $9.35 $112.26
 
Fire Protection Special Tax
FP-1 Red Mountain $192.47 $157.26 -$2.93 -$35.21
FP-2 Windy Acres $90.04 $157.26 $5.60 $67.22
FP-3 El Mirage $9.00 $157.26 $12.35 $148.26
FP-4 Wonder Valley $35.34 $157.26 $10.16 $121.92
FP-6 Havasu Lake $139.59 $157.26 $1.47 $17.67

If the County Fire Protection Board of Directors approves the FP-5 Service Zone Expansion on October 16, 2018, all PM and FP assessments currently being assessed will be eliminated and replaced with the FP-5 assessment. The first billing will come in November 2019 through your property tax bill.


Board Items/Approved Resolutions

1. MIN-SBCFPD-101618-PUBLIC HEAR FOR FP5 EXPAND.(final).DOC
2. RES-SBCFPD-101618-Expansion Resolution.(final).DOC
3. PP FP5-FinalCOB.101218.pptx

Frequently Asked Questions

A: If the property you own is within the proposed expansion territory (Service Zone FP-5, Refer to the Service Zone Map appendix-A) this expansion will result in the levy of your annual property tax bill in the amount of $157.26, with a maximum 3% increase per year. It’s important to note, if you are currently paying a County Fire Protection assessment this new fee schedule will fully replace your existing fee.
A: The current revenue projections for San Bernardino County Fire Protection District indicate the existing revenue streams are insufficient to continue the current Fire and EMS service levels provided within the County’s Fire Protection District. The expansion of the FP-5 Service Zone will result in a more secure revenue stream to enable the continuance of existing service levels within the expanded territory and provide for the future capital needs of the FP-5 Service Zones.
A: Per the Government Code, all special service assessments for named Service Zones are restricted funds only to be spent within the named Service Zone they were collected for. In this case, Service Zone FP-5 assessment can and will only be used to support the services provided within this Service Zone territory.
A: Currently, those who are already paying a parcel fee for fire services are subsidizing those who are not. Property tax revenues in many areas throughout the County, particularly in less populated areas, will never be high enough to cover the costs of providing many county government services, including fire and EMS services in those areas. Thus, as it stands now, more populated communities are subsidizing less populated and more remote communities. The expansion of FP-5 countywide levels the playing field.
A: No, any increase in the Service Zone fee must be approved by the District’s Board of Directors, based on recommendations made by the District Fire Chief.
A: The San Bernardino County Fire Protection District’s Board of Directors has established a 30 day protest period along with a scheduled public hearing set for October 16, 2018 to allow the public to express their opinions regarding the expansion of the FP-5 Service Zone. All the information regarding the public hearing, as well as the protest form and guidelines can be found at WWW.sbcfire.org or by dialing 211 on your phone.
A: We encourage you to visit the website at WWW.sbcfire.org for the latest information. Procedures for public protest will be mailed to property owners within the expansion territories. Your local fire station will not have protest forms for distribution.
A: In compliance with Government Code and Proposition 218, the Board of Supervisors established a process to protest these changes. An important part of that process is the Public Hearing on October 16, 2018. During the protest period, if at least 25% of property owners who own at least 25% of the total impacted land value submit protest letters to the County, then an election will be triggered. If at least 50% of property owners who own at least 50% of the total impacted land value submit protest letters to the County, the expansion will be terminated.

A: After lengthy deliberation, the Board of Supervisors made the decision to approve this proposed resolution. The resolutions outline a detailed process that follows government code. Your opportunity to be heard on the expansion of Service Zone FP-5 begins with the protest period that opens on September 14, 2018. This period will conclude with a Public Hearing on October 16, 2018.

Further changes to these government codes requires action by the State of California.

A: Yes. But If your parcels are contiguous, you can file a simple form at a cost of $108.00 dollars for processing, and from that point forward you only have to pay one parcel fee. Form AOS-047 may be found on the County Assessor’s website.

Download Form
A: Your parcel number is a 13 digit number that will be printed along with your name on the front of the envelope containing the notification for Service Zone FP-5 Expansion, but can also be accessed here. Click Name Search on the top menu, and enter your information. Your parcel number will be listed in box to the right of your search area.
A: All special service assessments are restricted funds by State Law and can only be spent within the named Service Zone they were collected for. A full disclosure of the Fire District’s budget can be found on our website at http://www.sbcfire.org/about/budget.aspx.
A: No, the assessment can increase up to 3% a year based on the recommendation of the district’s Fire Chief. Any recommendation made by the Fire Chief to increase the Service Zone fee must be approved by the District’s Board of Directors. The Service Zone FP-5 assessment does NOT automatically increase every year.
A: No, this is about the total cost of providing fire and emergency medical services. Those costs include facilities, vehicle replacement, equipment, salaries, pensions, etc. It’s also important to remember that SBCERA, the County’s retirement system, is in much better shape than other public retirement systems like CAL PERS, which has received a lot of attention over the past few years for its unfortunate financial difficulties.
A: The San Bernardino County Fire Protection District covers an area of over 19, 000 square miles, and resources are shared throughout the County when needed. If there is an incident in your area that requires more resources than are available at your station, engines from other stations around the District will respond. This is one of the benefits of the County Fire Department protecting your area, we can pull resources as needed to mitigate any emergency. It would be impossible to provide a dedicated station in every single community throughout the entire County.
A: Fires can grow and destroy up to hundreds and even thousands of acres. We cannot simply allow a fire to burn out of control and potentially spread to an area where it might threaten lives, property, or the environment. In addition, the San Bernardino County Fire Protection District provides fire and emergency medical services that people often need beyond the boundaries of their properties, such as citizens travelling on local freeways or highways.
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