Associated Press - October 28, 2007 4:05 PM ET
TAHOE CITY, California (AP) - Four months after Lake Tahoe's largest recorded wildland fire, Tahoe City-area property owners have overwhelmingly voted to pay an annual assessment to improve fire safety on the lake's north shore.
A total of 3,873 voters approved the assessment while 1,589 voters rejected it. The 45-day mail-in election ended Wednesday, when ballots were counted.
The tax is expected to generate $625,000 a year for expansion of the North Tahoe Fire Protection District's chipping and fuels reduction programs, and defensible space inspections.
The revenue also will be used to modernize communications systems, contract water-dropping helicopters, plan neighborhood evacuation routes and increase engine staffing during periods of high fire danger.
Single-family homeowners will be assessed an annual fee starting at $48, while commercial property owners will pay a higher rate.
Approval of the tax follows the 3,000-acre Angora wildfire in June that destroyed 254 homes on Lake Tahoe's south shore.