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Westsiders scoff at lack of report

Many residents want to know what their options are for incorporation

Posted: June 18, 2009 10:06 p.m.
Updated: June 19, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Mike Jensen, of Castaic, asks a question at Castaic Middle School on Thursday at a public meeting about the feasability of establishing a city from the westside unincorporated communities.

Controversy erupted near the end of the second public meeting to examine the chance of cityhood for the westside unincorporated communities Thursday night.

Castaic resident Mike Jensen’s question was simple: “Where is the annexation (options) report?” he asked shortly after 8 p.m, as the meeting was winding down.

The public meeting Thursday presented the initial feasibility report, which attempts to measure the likelihood a city could be formed from the communities of Westridge, Stevenson Ranch, Tesoro, Castaic and Sunset Pointe.

A second report, called “the options report,” will compare the fiscal impacts of cityhood, annexation into the city or remaining in a county unincorporated area. The options report has been mired by delays and after Jensen’s questioning the report became the center of controversy.

Ken Striplin, Santa Clarita assistant city manager, said the responsibility for the report does not fall squarely on the city.

“Those questions are better addressed to the town councils,” he said.

Striplin’s comments set off a firestorm of reactions from town council members from Castaic and Stevenson Ranch.

“That is 100 percent wrong,” said Dave Bossert, member of the Stevenson Ranch Town Council. “It’s all four’s (the Stevenson Ranch and Castaic town councils, the county and the city) responsibility to make sure the reports are ready.”

Striplin said the city portion was funding the options report, but added that the decision to pick a consultant for both the options and feasibility reports was made by the town councils, the county and the city collectively.

Castaic Area Town Council President Steve Teaman said the process was slightly different.

“The town councils sought quality consulting firms and came up with a list,” he said. The county picked Economic and Planning Systems and paid for the feasibility study. The city chose another consultant on the list independent of the town council’s influence, Teaman said.

The city paid for options report, he added.

Castaic Town Council member Robert Kelly said the city shouldn’t lay blame for the lateness of the study on any other entity but itself.

“If you’re cutting the check, you’re in charge,” he said.

The options report has missed several deadlines previous to Thursday’s meeting. Darren Hernandez, Santa Clarita deputy city manager, told The Signal on May 29 the report would be ready by the June 15 meeting.

The report’s new proposed release date was announced at Thursday’s meeting as September. The audience chuckled at the promised date of September.




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