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Budget, loud parties on council agenda

Homeowners cited would be fined $390 for disturbance of the peace

Posted: June 19, 2009 8:16 p.m.
Updated: June 20, 2009 9:00 a.m.
 
Santa Clarita officials are looking to turn down the volume on noisy parties and crank up the fees for those who break the law.

On the agenda for Tuesday's City Council meeting is a proposed amendment to the city's noise ordinance, as it applies to loud parties.

If the change is approved, a $200 fine slapped on the person responsible for the party and paid to the court system would be replaced by a $390 citation issued to the homeowner and paid to the city, according to an agenda report.

According to the report, Monday through Thursday the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station receives about five to 10 "loud party" calls daily, a number that increases to 20 to 45 daily calls during the weekend.

To handle the increased weekend volume, the Sheriff's Station dedicates two patrol vehicles to monitor and shut down loud parties.

When it comes to determining whether to write a citation, "you put common sense into practice," sheriff's Sgt. Tom Jensen said.

If loud music or unruly partiers can be heard from the street or the house next door, he said, "the peace is being disturbed."

Also on Tuesday's agenda is approval of the 2009-10 fiscal year budget, topping out at $171.9 million.

Included in the budget is a $77.6 million general fund that is down roughly 4 percent.

The city will have about $10 million as an operating reserve, according to a budget summary. That is a drop from the 2008-09 reserve of about $11.6 million.

In light of the recession and falling local sales-tax revenue, city officials spent the last several months trimming already conservative department budgets, shaving about $4 million off the budget in the last month. The fiscal year lasts from July 1 to June 30.

In other budgetary news, the council is poised to sign off on a resolution opposing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposal to borrow $1 billion from cities' and counties' shares of the Highway Users Tax Account, or gas tax, to help close the state's budget deficit.

Santa Clarita would take a $702,903 hit over three years if the state goes through with the seizure, according to the agenda report.

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