At today's (Oct. 30) 9 a..m. meeting, the Idyllwild Fire Protection District (IFPD) commission approved a motion to use Riverside County’s tax collector to bill and collect its $65 per parcel special assessment.
The district delayed its approval of resolution authorizing the fee for this year; consequently, IFPD’s special assessment was omitted from the original set of bills distributed to Idyllwild property owners.
Without the special assessment the fire department would be short more than $200,000 this year.
After preliminary discussions, Don Kent, the county tax collector, agreed to issue corrected bill for only $1 per parcel. This is about 10 percent of the county legally authorized fee.
Kent imposed only one condition — a letter to local property owners, especially for off-the-Hill residents, explaining why a second or corrected bill had to be mailed.
The board approved Fire Chief Steve Kunkle’s recommendation to use the county’s capabilities. The vote was 3-0, with commissioners Ben Killingsworth and Glen McWilliams absent.
By early Friday afternoon, residents were calling and visiting the Town Crier and asking how the letter had arrived so quickly after its morning approval.
“Let’s be honest. We had a problem and had to move quickly,” President Paul Riggi said at the meeting. “This solution works out for everyone.”
Below is the body of Kunkle's letter:
"On behalf of the Idyllwild Board of Fire Commissioners the District would convey our apologies that you are receiving your assessment fee on a corrected tax bill instead of your normal tax bill. This is due to a timing issue by the Board in approving a required Resolution. The Board sought legal council opinion to re-confirm that taxpayer’s rights were not being violated before approving the Resolution. The assessment remains the same as the last three years as well as council’s opinion."
for informaion on the audit meeting see JP's blog.