As wildfires in California continue to cause extreme damages throughout the state, many local and state agencies are taking steps to implement stronger wildfire safety, prevention, and preparedness methods. The Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority Measure C is a special tax that was approved in 2020 for a period of 10 years.
This new measure is designed to help prevent wildfires by funding wildfire prevention and preparedness methods via a new parcel tax. Residents of Marin County and nearby areas are sure to have questions regarding this new measure, including what it does, who must pay the tax, and how the funds will be used. Here’s everything you need to know about the Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority Measure C parcel tax.
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What is the Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority?
The Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority (MWPA) is an institution that exists to develop and implement wildfire prevention and preparedness practices throughout Marin County, which is part of the San Francisco–Oakland–Berkeley, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The MWPA’s wildfire prevention and preparedness program includes:
- Vegetation management
- Wildfire detection
- Evacuation program improvements
- Public education
- Defensible space evaluations
- Local wildfire mitigation
- Local grant programs
The new Measure C parcel tax helps fund prevention services like these in an effort to prevent and mitigate wildfires in Marin County.
What is Marin County Measure C?
According to the MWPA, Marin County Measure C implements a new special tax that is applied to “all parcels of real property located in Marin County within the defined boundary of the Member Taxing Entities.”
These taxing entities include:
- Cities of San Rafael, Mill Valley, and Larkspur
- Towns of San Anselmo, Corte Madera, Fairfax, and Ross
- County of Marin (including Service Areas 13, 19, and 31)
- The Fire Protection Districts of Southern Marin, Novato, Kentfield, Stinson Beach, Bolinas, and Sleepy Hollow
- Marinwood Community Services District
- Inverness Public Utility District
- Muir Beach Community Services District
Using funds generated by this tax, the MWPA will be able to improve its fire prevention efforts. Funds will be distributed in each of the MWPA’s five Operational Zones.
Understanding the Parcel Tax
The parcel tax implemented by Measure C is expected to generate $19 million in annual funds, which will be used to finance, plan, and maintain a wildfire prevention and mitigation agency in Marin County. The tax has been approved for a 10-year period and will expire at the end of the 2029/30 fiscal year.
Tax rates vary by property type and will be adjusted on a yearly basis in accordance with changes in the Consumer Price Index. Rates for the 2020/2021 fiscal year can be viewed on MyParcelTax—however, rates for future fiscal years have not yet been established.
What are the Exemptions?
Residents of Marin County should be aware of the exemptions that exist for the Measure C parcel tax. These exemptions apply to certain seniors and certain types of parcels.
Low-income seniors may be eligible for an exemption for each fiscal year that the parcel tax is in effect. Qualifying residents must complete and submit an exemption application by June 30 of each calendar year for the next fiscal year.
To qualify for this exemption, you must:
- Be 65 years of age or older by July 1 of each fiscal year
- Live in an owner-occupied single-family home
- Have a gross household income that is less than:
- $97,600 for a one-person household
- $111,550 for a two-person household
- $125,500 for a three-person household
- $139,400 for a four-person household
- $150,600 for a five-person household
These income limits are for the 2021/2022 fiscal year and may change in the future.
Use Codes 12 and 13
Measure C also includes exemptions for parcels that are classified by County Assessor Use Codes 12 and 13. This includes mobile homes and houseboats, respectively.
Use Codes 15 and 53 – 90
Parcels classified by Use Codes 15 and 53 – 90 are also exempt from the Measure C parcel tax. This includes non-profit organizations, churches, and local governments that meet exemption criteria.
How Residents Can Contribute to Wildfire Prevention
While measures like this greatly contribute to wildfire prevention efforts, it’s important for residents in fire-prone areas to understand how they can contribute to wildfire prevention in their communities.
Homeowners in Marin County should practice the following methods to help mitigate wildfires:
- Home Ignition Zone 0 and Zone 1. Manage the surrounding landscape, and remove flammable materials within Home Ignition Zone 0 (0′ to 5′ from Home) and Home Ignition Zone 1 (5′ to 30′ from Home).
- Always check local weather conditions before partaking in any activities that could cause wildfires like camping.
- Use fire-resistant building materials when possible to protect your home against ignition.
- Never dispose of cigarettes by throwing them on the ground. Instead, make sure to completely extinguish them and dispose of them in a dedicated container.
- Always comply with local regulations with regards to lighting fireworks, burning trash, burning yard waste, and similar activities.
- Install a roof sprinkler system to proactively hydrate your property and help prevent rapid wildfire spreading.
By following these tips, you can help reduce the spread of wildfires in fire-prone communities in California and across the United States.
Install an Exterior Sprinkler System
An exterior sprinkler system serves as an effective defense tool against wildfires. By proactively hydrating your home, sprinkler systems can reduce the chances of ignition around your home and protect against fire-starters like drifting embers.
The Frontline Wildfire Defense exterior sprinkler system can protect your home from wildfire with:
- Remote activation for 24/7 protection from anywhere
- Built-in battery backup and satellite communication
- Environmentally friendly, biodegradable Class A foam
- Municipal, well, pool, and emergency water tank supply options
- Wildfire tracking and remote system activation using the Frontline app
For more information on how Frontline Wildfire Defense can help safeguard your home, contact us today for a free consultation.