Code Section Group

Government Code - GOV

TITLE 5. LOCAL AGENCIES [50001 - 57607]

  ( Title 5 added by Stats. 1949, Ch. 81. )


  ( Division 1 added by Stats. 1949, Ch. 81. )


  ( Part 1 added by Stats. 1949, Ch. 81. )

CHAPTER 1. General [50001 - 50290]

  ( Chapter 1 added by Stats. 1949, Ch. 81. )

ARTICLE 3.6. Fire Suppression Assessments [50078 - 50078.20]
  ( Heading of Article 3.6 amended by Stats. 1982, Ch. 1396, Sec. 1. )


Any local agency which provides fire suppression services directly or by contract with the state or a local agency may, by ordinance or by resolution adopted after notice and hearing, determine and levy an assessment for fire suppression services pursuant to this article. The assessment may be made for the purpose of obtaining, furnishing, operating, and maintaining fire suppression equipment or apparatus or for the purpose of paying the salaries and benefits of firefighting personnel, or both, whether or not fire suppression services are actually used by or upon a parcel, improvement, or property.

(Amended by Stats. 1986, Ch. 327, Sec. 1.)


As used in this article, the following terms have the following meanings:

(a) “Legislative body” means the board of directors, trustees, governors, or any other governing body of a local agency specified in subdivision (b).

(b) “Local agency” means any city, county, or city and county, whether general law or chartered, or special district, including a county service area created pursuant to the County Service Area Law (Chapter 2.5 (commencing with Section 25210) of Part 2 of Division 2 of Title 3).

(c) “Fire suppression” includes firefighting and fire prevention including, but not limited to, vegetation removal or management undertaken, in whole or in part, for the reduction of a fire hazard.

(Amended by Stats. 2008, Ch. 158, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 2009.)


(a) The ordinance or resolution shall establish uniform schedules and rates based upon the type of use of property and the risk classification of the structures or other improvements on, or the use of, the property. The risk classification may include, but need not be limited to, the amount of water required for fire suppression on that property, the structure size, type of construction, structure use, and other factors relating to potential fire and panic hazards and the costs of providing the fire suppression by the district to that property. The assessment shall be related to the benefits to the property assessed.

(b) The benefit assessment levies on land devoted primarily to agricultural, timber, or livestock uses, and being used for the commercial production of agricultural, timber, or livestock products, shall be related to the relative risk to the land and its products. The amount of the assessment shall recognize normal husbandry practices that serve to mitigate risk, onsite or proximate water availability, response time, capability of the fire suppression service, and any other factors which reflect the benefit to the land resulting from the fire suppression service provided. A benefit assessment shall not be levied for wildland or watershed fire suppression on land located in a state responsibility area as defined in Section 4102 of the Public Resources Code. This subdivision is not applicable to any benefit assessment levied prior to January 1, 1984, on land devoted primarily to agricultural, timber, or livestock uses.

(Amended by Stats. 1986, Ch. 327, Sec. 2.)


Any ordinance or resolution adopted by a local agency pursuant to this article establishing uniform schedules and rates for assessments for fire suppression services which substantially conforms with the model ordinance which the State Fire Marshal is authorized to adopt pursuant to Section 13111 of the Health and Safety Code shall be presumed to be in compliance with the requirements of Section 50078.2.

(Amended by Stats. 1986, Ch. 327, Sec. 3.)


The legislative body of the local agency shall cause to be prepared and filed with the clerk of the local agency a written report which shall contain all of the following:

(a) A description of each lot or parcel of property proposed to be subject to the assessment.

(b) The amount of the assessment for each lot or parcel for the initial fiscal year.

(c) The maximum amount of the assessment which may be levied for each lot or parcel during any fiscal year.

(d) The duration of the assessment.

(e) The basis of the assessment.

(f) The schedule of the assessment.

(g) A description specifying the requirements for protest and hearing procedures for the proposed assessment pursuant to Section 50078.6.

(Amended by Stats. 2000, Ch. 262, Sec. 11. Effective January 1, 2001.)


(a) The legislative body may establish zones or areas of benefit within the local agency and may restrict the imposition of assessments to areas lying within one or more of the zones or areas of benefit established within the local agency.

(b) The benefit assessment shall be levied on a parcel, class of improvement to property, or use of property basis, or a combination thereof, within the boundaries of the local agency, zone, or area of benefit.

The assessment may be levied against any parcel, improvement, or use of property to which such services may be made available whether or not the service is actually used.

(Amended by Stats. 1983, Ch. 303, Sec. 4.)


The clerk of the local agency shall cause the notice, protest, and hearing procedures to comply with Section 53753. The mailed notice shall also contain the name and telephone number of the person designated by the legislative body to answer inquiries regarding the protest proceedings.

(Amended by Stats. 2000, Ch. 262, Sec. 12. Effective January 1, 2001.)


(a) Subject to Section 4 of Article XIII   A of the California Constitution, any school district may impose qualified special taxes within the district pursuant to the procedures established in Article 3.5 (commencing with Section 50075) and any other applicable procedures provided by law.

(b) (1) As used in this section, “qualified special taxes” means special taxes that apply uniformly to all taxpayers or all real property within the school district, except that unimproved property may be taxed at a lower rate than improved property. “Qualified special taxes” may include taxes that provide for an exemption from those taxes for any or all of the following taxpayers:

(A) Persons who are 65 years of age or older.

(B) Persons receiving Supplemental Security Income for a disability, regardless of age.

(C) Persons receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, regardless of age, whose yearly income does not exceed 250 percent of the 2012 federal poverty guidelines issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

(2) “Qualified special taxes” do not include special taxes imposed on a particular class of property or taxpayers.

(c) The amendments made to this section by Chapter 81 of the Statutes of 2015 are declaratory of existing law.

(d) Any exemption granted pursuant to subdivision (b) shall remain in effect until the taxpayer becomes ineligible. If the taxpayer becomes ineligible for the exemption for any reason, a new exemption may be granted in the same manner.

(e) (1) If a school district provides for an exemption for a qualified special tax pursuant to subdivision (b), and the school district contracts or enters into an agreement with the county to collect the qualified special tax within the district, the school district shall annually provide to the tax collector of that county the following information:

(A) A hyperlink to the location on the Internet Web site of the school district that contains exemption information, if available.

(B) A hyperlink to the location on the Internet Web site of the school district that contains the application for the exemption, if available.

(C) A phone number to provide persons with exemption information or direct persons requesting exemption information.

(2) If a county contracts or enters into an agreement with a school district to collect a qualified special tax for the district and for which that district provides for an exemption pursuant to subdivision (b), the tax collector of that county shall include a hyperlink, which shall be identified as “Parcel Tax Exemptions,” on the tax collector’s Internet Web site homepage to another location on the tax collector’s Internet Web site that posts the hyperlinks and information provided by the school district in paragraph (1).

(3) Paragraph (2) shall only apply when the school district provides the information to the tax collector required by paragraph (1). The tax collector shall not post any hyperlink to a location on a school district Internet Web site that is invalid.

(f) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2020.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 2018, Ch. 391, Sec. 2.5. (AB 2458) Effective January 1, 2019. Section operative January 1, 2020, by its own provisions.)


The local agency shall pay the county for costs, if any, incurred by the county in conducting the election. An election called by a legislative body pursuant to this article is subject to all provisions of the Elections Code applicable to elections called by the local agency. The local agency may recover the costs of the election and any other costs of preparing and levying the assessment from the proceeds of the assessment.

(Amended by Stats. 1992, Ch. 349, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 1993.)


The legislative body may provide for the collection of the assessment in the same manner, and subject to the same penalties as, other fees, charges, and taxes fixed and collected by, or on behalf of the local agency. If the assessments are collected by the county, the county may deduct its reasonable costs incurred for that service before remittal of the balance to the local agency’s treasury.

(Amended by Stats. 1983, Ch. 303, Sec. 10.)


Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 860) of Title 10 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure applies to any judicial action or proceeding to validate, attack, review, set aside, void, or annul an ordinance or resolution levying an assessment or modifying or amending an existing ordinance or resolution.

If an ordinance or resolution provides for an automatic adjustment in an assessment, and the automatic adjustment results in an increase in the amount of an assessment, any action or proceeding to attack, review, set aside, void, or annul the increase shall be commenced within 90 days of the effective date of the increase.

Any appeal from a final judgment in the action or proceeding brought pursuant to this section shall be filed within 30 days after entry of the judgment.

(Amended by Stats. 1986, Ch. 327, Sec. 6.)


This article does not limit or prohibit the levy or collection of any other fee, charge, assessment, or tax for fire suppression services authorized by any other provisions of law.

(Added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 1396, Sec. 8.5.)


Any fire protection district may specifically allocate a portion of the revenue generated pursuant to this article to pay the interest and that portion of the principal as will become due on an annual basis on indebtedness incurred pursuant to Section 8589.13 of this code and Section 13906 of the Health and Safety Code.

(Amended by Stats. 1989, Ch. 221, Sec. 2.)

GOVGovernment Code - GOV3.6