SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – An emergency state mandate to charge about 800,000 homeowners a new $150 annual fire protection fee is drawing opposition from some homeowners. The Sacramento Bee reports (http://bit.ly/AvfGbh ) the fee, which is intended to support fire prevention services provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, is expected to produce nearly $85 million annually for the state starting in fiscal 2012-13. Gov. Jerry Brown wants to charge rural residents for the costs of fire protection, in part because of the increase of people moving to wildland areas. But critics of the fee say there is no new service in exchange for the fee that would be imposed in areas that include wildland and watershed areas. They also argue that rural homeowners are being penalized unfairly.
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