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Antonovich out of the mix for sewer-rate increase vote

County Supervisor from Long Beach will sit on Santa Clarita Sanitation Board

Posted: May 17, 2009 9:31 p.m.
Updated: May 18, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
City of Santa Clarita residents will get local representation when the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District decides whether to raise sewer rates on May 26. The same can't be said for residents of unincorporated areas, who will be represented by L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe from Long Beach.

Knabe, who represents the Fourth District on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, will join city of Santa Clarita Mayor Frank Ferry and City Councilwoman Marsha McLean on the Santa Clarita Sanitation Board to decide whether the raise sewer rates on SCV homeowners.

If the Sanitation Board approves the proposed increases, the sewer rates will increase from $14.92 to $47 over the next six years.
Knabe's chair position automatically puts him on more than just the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District Board, said Paul Novak, planning deputy for Fifth District Supervisor Michael Antonovich.

"The chairman serves on all the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts in the unincorporated areas," he said. "The chair position rotates."

The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District is one of 24 sanitation districts throughout the county that are under the authority of the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts. Knabe's role as chairman makes him a voting member on all those boards, Novak said.

Knabe isn't the first person one Castaic resident would want making the decision on sewer rates for the Santa Clarita Sanitation Board.

"My first choice would be Supervisor Antonovich, because we voted for him," said Steve Teeman, Castaic Town Council president.

Knabe and members of his public works staff were unavailable for comment.

Novak said not having Antonovich on the Santa Clarita Sanitation Board doesn't mean the voters in the unincorporated areas of the SCV won't be represented.

"Supervisor Antonovich has a close relationship with (Supervisor) Knabe and can convey the interest of the voters in the district," Novak said.

The relationship works the same way when Antonovich moves to the chair position and becomes the Sanitation Districts' county vote in 2011. When decisions affecting the Fourth District are made, Knabe will advise Antonovich of his constituents' interests, said Tony Bell, Antonovich spokesman.

City Hall may provide some representation for unincorporated voters on the Santa Clarita Sanitation Board. "This is an issue that impacts the city and the county equally," Novak said. "The City Council and the voters in the unincorporated areas have a shared interest in (the Sanitation District) issue."

Ferry said his role on the Santa Clarita Sanitation Board means representing the district beyond the city boundaries. He said Supervisor Knabe has the same responsibility to represent the rate payers, even though they don't live in his voting district.

"Supervisor Knabe is going to do what's best for the people in the (Santa Clarita Valley) Sanitation District and I am going to do what's best for the people in the Sanitation District," he said.

Ferry said the proposed sanitation-rate increase is equally unpopular in the unincorporated areas and the city.
"I can carry that argument beyond the city and people will agree," he added.

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