(a) The commission shall authorize a referendum among owners or lessees of forest land to determine whether an assessment shall be levied upon said owners or lessees to offset, in whole or in part, the cost of forestry and forest fire protection programs.
(b) The assessment levied against each owner or lessee under this article shall be ten cents per acre of forest land owned.
(c) All affected owners or lessees of forest land shall be entitled to vote in any such referendum. The commission shall determine any questions of eligibility to vote and shall establish rules and regulations pertaining to the vote.
(d) If a majority of those voting at the referendum vote in favor of the assessment, then the charge, fee or assessment shall be collected from the owners or lessees of forest land. The finance charge, fee or assessment levied by this article shall not be effective until a majority vote is obtained according to guidelines established by the commission.
(e) The finance charge, fee or assessment shall be due and payable at the same time as county ad valorem taxes. The assessments collected in each county under this article shall be promptly remitted to the commission under such terms and conditions as the State Forester shall deem necessary to ensure that such assessments are used in a sound forestry program and for the prevention of and protection against forest fire.
(f) With respect to any referendum conducted under the provisions of this article, the duly certified organization shall, not less than 30 days before the date of such referendum, cause to be published at least once a week for three weeks in a newspaper of county-wide circulation the date, hours, polling places and rules for voting in the referendum, the amount and basis of the assessment proposed to be collected, the means by which such assessment shall be collected, and the general purposes to which said amount so collected shall be expended and applied. Such notice shall be published by the certified organization through the medium of an established forestry publication and written notice therefor shall be given to each county agent and Alabama Forestry Commission supervisor in this state.