Proposed Rio Dell FPD Annexation

LAFCo has received a proposal submitted by resolution of application from the Rio Dell Fire Protection District (FPD) for annexation of approximately 11,498 acres (608 parcels) of developed and undeveloped rural residential and resource lands located outside the boundaries that is currently served by volunteer fire companies. The Rio Dell FPD proposes to consolidate fire protection service operations and administration with the Scotia, Redcrest and Shively Volunteer Fire Companies, and annex the service areas of those volunteer fire companies into the boundaries of the Rio Dell FPD.  This action would also necessitate the divestiture of power to provide fire protection services by Scotia Community Services District (CSD).

Public Hearing:

Due to the evolving Coronavirus recommendations, the March 18th LAFCo Meeting has been cancelled. The public hearing items scheduled for this meeting will be re-noticed accordingly. The next regular LAFCo meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

Humboldt LAFCo will consider the proposed annexation at a public hearing on March 18, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. in the Board of Supervisors Chamber located at 825 5th St, Eureka, CA.

A Public Notice was prepared and sent out to all property owners and registered voters within the proposed annexation areas that provided details for the public hearing and how to submit comments for consideration by the Commission.

Should the Commission approve the annexation, a subsequent Protest Hearing will be conducted to receive written protests from registered voters and landowners within the area proposed for reorganization.

Important Documents:

Reasons for Proposal

According to the application, the reasons for the proposed annexation are as follows:

  1. The Rio Dell FPD has provided fire protection services to its out-of-district response area and the Scotia, Redcrest, and Shively Volunteer Fire Companies have provided service to their communities for many years.
  2. The proposed annexation would extend the Rio Dell FPD’s current property tax allocation and special assessment revenue sources to the expanded district boundary and consolidate fire protection service operations and administration with the Scotia, Redcrest, and Shively Volunteer Fire Companies, providing regular and ongoing revenue sources to these communities to sustain local fire protection services within each community and to also retain the important local identity of each community’s fire department.
  3. The proposed annexation would officially merge the operations of the four fire departments into one efficient, effective, and sustainable emergency services system and make possible a proactive, sustainable solution for future fire and emergency service needs for the area by creating a regional district with an improved economy of scale and associated benefits.
  4. The proposed annexation would establish district boundaries that clearly define service responsibilities for the benefit of neighboring fire service providers, land use authorizes, the public, and other service providers.

Description of Annexation Areas:

Annexation Area 1 (Rio Dell Response Area): The Rio Dell Response Area includes land to the west of the existing district boundary along Blue Slide Road, up to the end of Howe Creek Road and up Price Creek Road.  This area is sparsely developed with rural residences and farm dwellings.  There are approximately 41 parcels developed with rural residences and an extensive ranch area.  The entire area is proposed to be included in the annexation area because the fire department must pass through the ranch and timberlands to reach all of the rural residences.

Annexation Area 2 (Town of Scotia): The Town of Scotia is approximately 284 acres in area and contains the largest functioning lumber mill in the County; approximately 280 residences; a small shopping center with a grocery store and hardware store as well as other businesses; a hotel; a former mill that is now a multi-tenant industrial park; a school; and miscellaneous public and commercial buildings.

Annexation Area 3 (Scotia Response Area): The Scotia Response Area includes the Stafford community and extends approximately 6.5 miles along Shively Road east of U.S. 101 and south along U.S. 101 to the Jordan Creek exit.  There is one home within the Shively Road portion of the response area and the remainder of this area is comprised of forest land.  There are approximately 43 homes in the community of Stafford and the Eurekas Redwood Christian Center resort property in Stafford.

Annexation Area 4 (Redcrest Response Area): The Redcrest response zone has approximately 100 residential structures located within the three community areas: Pepperwood, Holmes Flat, and Redcrest.  In addition, this area has the former Eel Rivers Sawmill property in Redcrest which is now a multi-tenant industrial park, the Redcrest Resort, U.S. Post Office, and other miscellaneous commercial operations.  This area also includes a significant amount of Humboldt Redwoods State Park land.

Annexation Area 5 (Shively Response Area): The Shively Response Zone is comprised of the Shively community and the Larabee area.  There are a total of approximately 67 rural residences in this area as well as extensive agricultural and timber land.

Funding Sources

The Rio Dell FPD is principally funded by property taxes (34% of total revenue), parcel-based assessments (64% of total revenue), and funding from a few other miscellaneous sources (2% of total revenue). The District generates approximately $76,800 per year from its percentage (0.04%) of the 1 percent ad valorem property tax revenue. Annual revenue from the District’s benefit assessment is approximately $144,000. The benefit assessment was approved in 2014 and is applied at a rate of $25 per “unit of benefit” on a use-of-property basis, as summarized below:

Property Type

Unit of Benefit

2014 Assessment

Vacant/Unimproved Lot

1

$25

Single Family Residence

4

$100

Rural Residence

6

$125

Multi-Family Residence 2-4 units

8

$200

Multi-Family Residence 5-9 units

10

$250

Multi-Family Residence 10+ units

12

$300

Commercial

12

$300

Industrial

20

$500

Mobile Home (in a park)

3

$75

Upon annexation, the District would receive approximately $65,375 per year in special assessment revenue from properties within the annexation areas. In addition, it is estimated the District would generate approximately $32,423 per year in property tax revenue corresponding with tax exchange agreement offer number 1 authorized by the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors on April 9, 2019. Collectively, the additional property tax allocation and special assessment revenue sources would provide regular and ongoing revenue sources to sustain local fire protection services within each community and to also retain the important local identity of each community’s fire department. As proposed, the annexation would officially merge the operations of the four fire departments into one regional district, with an improved economy of scale and associated benefits to the following communities: the Town of Scotia; Stafford; Shively; Redcrest; Larabee; Pepperwood; Holmes Flat; and Price Creek/Howe Creek.

Questions/Comments

Please direct comments, questions, and requests to review documents to Humboldt LAFCo, 1125 16th Street, Suite 202, Arcata, California 95521. For further information, please contact the LAFCo office at (707) 445-7508.