A fire-prevention fee that has been unpopular with rural property owners is headed back before the California Legislature.
Gov. Jerry Brown wants to expand its use, but two new hurdles have emerged and are feeding criticism and uncertainty about the fee’s future.
First, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection did not place money from wildfire damage settlements into a special account instead of the state treasury.
That revelation was followed by an opinion from the Legislature’s legal counsel that the department is improperly using some of the new fire fee revenue to collect damages from those who start fires.