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Meetings to explore Westside's future

Public to learn more about annexation and incorporation

Posted: May 8, 2009 10:05 p.m.
Updated: May 8, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 

The Westside town councils will host two town hall meetings for the public that will help residents learn more about how annexation into the city of Santa Clarita - or incorporation into their own new city - could impact their lives.

The meetings will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m June 15 at Stevenson Ranch Elementary School and from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. June 18 at Castaic Middle School, the West Ranch Town Council announced Thursday.

In November, registered voters on the Westside will be asked to participate in a nonbinding advisory vote measuring whether they want to annex into the city of Santa Clarita, incorporate into their own city or remain as they are as unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County. Westside communities include Sunset Pointe, Southern Oaks, Stevenson Ranch, Westridge, Val Verde and Castaic.
At the meetings, results of an initial feasibility study will be released and residents will receive more information about how each decision could impact their communities.

Both the city and the unincorporated communities are waiting for completion and release of an initial feasibility study and a comparison study. The two studies are designed to provide information to residents to help them decide how to vote on the issue.

With $25,000 in funds provided by Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, the West Ranch and Castaic Area town councils chose a consultant to prepare the initial feasibility analysis on the tax revenues generated in the Westside communities.

The city authorized and funded a second consultant charged with preparation of a comparison study that would evaluate the value of annexation of the areas into the city.

West Ranch Town Council President Ron Mechsner said the meetings will proceed as planned, even if the comparison study has not been completed.

"At least one consultant will be there," Mechsner said, referring to the consultant preparing the initial feasibility study. "We're working against making sure everyone has enough time to be informed (before the November vote)."

The West Ranch and Castaic Area Town Councils, both advisory groups to Supervisor Antonovich, approved funding for a meeting facilitator. Both councils expressed intentions for the information to be distributed without bias, which is why an outside facilitator was hired.

"We want the information to be disseminated as fairly as possible," Meschner said.

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