SoCal city billing $99 for brush clearance inspections |

SoCal city billing $99 for brush clearance inspections

VENTURA (AP) ” Some residents in brushy areas of Ventura are upset about a $99 weed-abatement inspection fee assessed by the city fire department.

The city sent the bill for $99 along with its annual clearance reminder to about 1,200 homeowners with property near brush-covered areas. Those who don’t pay the $99 by June 1 face fines and the possibility of property liens.

Fire Marshal Brian Clark says the fee is necessary to pay for hundreds of hours it takes to make the inspections. He says the department can no longer afford the inspections.

Resident Mary Lory complains city leaders didn’t give any notice before forcing them to pay for a basic government service. A fire department employee told her it wasn’t a tax or penalty.

The homeowner calls it “extortion.”