The Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund (ERAF) was created by the state legislature in 1992, with formulas established in 1992-93 and 1993-94 to permanently shift funds from counties, cites, and special districts to ERAF. The state uses this fund to reduce their obligation to the schools.
The movement of funds from taxes originally allocated for other purposes to ERAF is called the ERAF “shift”. The ERAF shift from all other special districts or funds is usually no more than about 15%. The ERAF shift from the fire protection tax funds from the 172 square miles of NSCFPD is about 46%. This results in the loss every year of more than $1 million dollars of funds originally allocated for fire protection within the District.
In January of 2017, after much study and research, the District, working with counsel William Ross, filed a Writ of Mandamus against Sonoma County, asserting the the ERAF calculation applied to the District should have been recalculated after District formation. The District eventually lost this suit, and the appeal.
The District has also attempted to initiate state legislation to correct our ERAF problem, but has never been able to garner enough support from our local representatives to make that happen. Please see NSCFPD ERAF for a detailed explanation of the problem and its history.
Loss of funds to ERAF is the number one financial challenge to the District. Resolving the issue and reducing the ERAF shift to a fair and appropriate percentage would make the District financial stable for the foreseeable future, with the ability to keep fire apparatus up to date and possibly enhance service.
To read in great depth about this issue and the California property tax system, see Demystifying the California Property Tax Apportionment System.