Section 45-5-140Assessment of tax against owners of forest lands.
(a) The County Commission of Blount County is authorized, when the need exists, to provide protection against forest fires in Blount County by participating in the Alabama Forestry Commission's fire protection program in the manner hereinafter specified.
(b)(1) After the Blount County Commission has determined that such a need does exist in Blount County, the county commission may, in the manner hereinafter specified, provide for a financial charge or tax to be paid by the owners of forest lands located in Blount County for the use of the land for timber growing purposes amounting to the whole or any part of the cost of such fire protection program, but not in excess of ten cents ($0.10) per acre, provided such financial charge or tax is not greater than the benefit accruing to such forest lands due to availability of such fire protection.
(2) "Forest lands" as used in this section, shall mean any land which supports a forest growth, or which under prevailing natural and economic conditions may be expected to support such a growth in the future, or which is being used or reserved for any purpose. "Forest lands" as used in this section, shall not include any lands primarily used for residential purposes nor shall it include any publicly owned lands.
(3) The finance charge or tax fixed as provided in this section shall be payable at the same time and in the same manner as county taxes, and the owners of the "forest lands," as herein defined, shall make report of the same to the Tax Assessor of Blount County, Alabama, at the time fixed by law for making return of the property of such property owned. Financial charges or taxes levied shall constitute a lien on the property against which they are charged or taxed in case of default in the payment of such financial charge or tax.
(c) The county governing body of Blount County is authorized to determine the area and owners thereof, and report the same to the Tax Assessor of Blount County who shall be authorized, after notice by mail to such owners, and hearing before the county governing body is requested by such owners, to place the financial charge or tax against the forest land as may be determined. It shall be the responsibility of the Tax Assessor of Blount County to establish such rules and regulations as are necessary to administer this section.
(d) The tax herein imposed shall be due and payable to the Tax Collector of Blount County, and shall, when collected, be paid to the Treasurer of Blount County. All monies collected in accordance with this section shall be spent in participating in the Alabama Forestry Commission's forest fire protection program in Blount County.
(e) The County Commission of Blount County is authorized to remove such financial charge or tax after the county commission has determined that the financial charge or tax is no longer needed. The county commission shall hold public hearings to determine whether or not the financial charge or tax is still needed. Procedures for such public hearings shall be the same as those in subsection (c).
(Act 81-1171, p. 455, §§1-5.)