RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) — Thousands of local homeowners are getting an unexpected surprise with a check for up to $400 after being charged a fire tax they didn’t owe.

Willie Jones is one of 3,800 Rancho Cordova homeowners who have been charged $100 a year by the Sacramento Metro Fire Department since 2009.

“I think it’s wrong they did something like that,” he said. “I think that’s unfair, and we should be compensated for that.”

Metro Fire Deputy Chief Chris Holbrook says it was a mistake.

A special fire protection tax is supposed to be paid by people living in the rural Sloughhouse area, but a recent audit revealed hundreds of nearby Rancho Cordova homeowners were wrongly charged the tax.

Now each of those homeowners will get up to $400 back—a total of more than $1.5 million being refunded.

“It’s the right thing to do, to pay this money back to homeowners,” Holbrook said.

The financial foul-up is even more troubling to many neighbors since their own fire station was closed two years ago due to budget cuts.

The fire department is sending out letters to homeowners about the tax rebate, and they have until May 31 to file a claim.


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