Breaking: Injunction filed against county’s proposed triple fee expansion of FP-Zone 5 stating violations of Equal Protection and state constitutional grounds

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UPDATE: The hearing will be held today at the County’s courthouse located at 247 West Third St, San Bernardino, CA 92415, Department S30.

Attribution goes to local resident Cindy Pague to What Is Going On In Morongo Basin 3 for bring this information to light.



San Bernardino County’s Proposed Fire Prevention Zone 5 Expansion Challenged in Court by The Red Brennan Group

The Red Brennan Group has filed for an injunction against the County of San Bernardino’s proposed expansion of Fire Prevention Zone Five (FP-5). The non-profit, which is dedicated to constraining the growth of local governments, contends the expansion violates the Equal Protection clause of the United States Constitution, along with portions of the California constitution. The county’s resolution includes a “levy” on all property owners in unincorporated areas of the county and will be implemented without a direct vote as required by Propositions 13, 218, and 26.

In June 2018, upon recommendation by the San Bernardino County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig, the county Board of Supervisors approved a resolution to expand FP-5. The expansion would impose a $157.26 per year “levy” on all parcels in the unincorporated areas of the county and add $26.9 million dollars per year in revenue to County Fire. The Fire Chief’s recommendation was offered as a solution to cover County Fire’s ever increasing budget requirements which have accelerated sharply in the past four years. During the June presentation, Chief Hartwig identified a $29 million dollar shortfall for the fiscal year.

San Bernardino County officials believe the additional tax is justified because unincorporated areas of the county do not pay their fair share for fire services. Unincorporated residents see it differently. They point to the costs associated with the expansion of County Fire services in the Valley Region, along with increased funding for County Fire’s administrative function, as the catalyst for the increasing budget shortfall. Since 2015, fire services for the communities of San Bernardino, Upland, 29 Palms and Needles have shifted, via annexation, to County Fire. San Bernardino and Upland, located in the County Fire Valley Region, added a combined $41 million per year to the yearly budget total, while the two desert communities added just $4.3 million to the tag. Comparatively, budget requirements to fund both the Valley Region and County Fire’s administrative functions skyrocketed. Unincorporated residents take issue with being required to fund that growth. 

Read the PDF file regarding the release of this information, this Link

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