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Council wrap: MRF committee OK'd; no vote on storm-water fee; hearing on draft budget

Posted: June 9, 2009 9:27 p.m.
Updated: June 10, 2009 4:30 a.m.
 

The City Council approved Tuesday the suggested members of a panel in charge of finding a local site for a recycling facility.


With no discussion, the council unanimously approved what turned out to be a 12-seat committee.


A seat had been recommended for the Val Verde Civic Association, but the group never responded to requests for a possible member, said Travis Lange, the city's environmental services manager.


The committee will spend the next several months coming up with a list of possible sites for a materials recovery facility, or MRF.


Prior to the council's vote, Lynne Plambeck voiced her concerns about the city's request to not have her represent the Sierra Club on the committee.


The club's local chapter had originally recommended Plambeck, then changed its recommendation to chair Dave Morrow after City Manager Ken Pulskamp wrote a letter to the Sierra Club, stating Plambeck has a conflict of interest because of lawsuits filed against the city.


"This is a false representation," Plambeck told the council. "I have never filed a lawsuit in my life against the city.


Plambeck, a longtime member of the Sierra Club, is president of the 200-member Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment, which has filed a number of lawsuits related to development in the Santa Clarita Valley.


"She is in a leadership position," Pulskamp said. "I was concerned that there would be a perception of a conflict of interest."


After some tinkering by city staff, the council also revisited a proposed adjustment to Santa Clarita’s drainage maintenance fee.


On May 26, the council held off on a vote to change the methodology of the stormwater pollution prevention fee, after outcry by residents of large properties.


The stormwater fee provides funding for state-mandated drainage facilities within the city.


While 86 percent of the parcels in the city would see a decrease in the fee — from $24 per month to $21.50 — 14 percent would see an increase.


A number of homeowners turned out  to last month's meeting to protest the formula used to determine their fee, with some residents citing potentially drastic increases.


As a result, the environmental services division went back to the drawing board, examining the individual properties and determening the amount of runoff on parcels based on figures, not formulas, Lange said.


"To me, this worked out great," Lange said.


Ballots to vote on the stormwater fee adjustment will be sent to homeowners July 10, and the voting period will end Aug. 25, Lange said. If the adjustment is approved it will go into affect for the 2010/11 fiscal year.


In other business, and with no discussion, the council held a public hearing on the draft 2009/10 fiscal year budget, topping out at $171.9 million.


The council is scheduled to adopt the budget June 23. A copy of the draft budget is available for public review in the city clerk's office on the third floor of City Hall, located at 23920 Valencia Blvd.

 

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