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City does deserve credit

Posted: September 18, 2009 10:19 p.m.
Updated: September 19, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
After reading Tim Myers' commentary in Sunday's Signal several times ("Credit is due: the revenue side," The Signal, Sept. 6), I was still trying to understand the point he was attempting to make.

Possibly, it was that with all the problems the city has recently faced with reductions in revenue, city staff should be complimented because of they have "endured all the ill winds of tax-receipt misfortune during the current economic troubles."

But isn't that what all of us have to do in our personal lives? When income goes down, we stay healthy by spending less. Most of us find that lesson to be exceptionally true when we retire.

Hopefully, those of us who have retired have planned for the eventuality that not only will our income be fixed, but also our costs will go up over time.

Therefore, I was surprised to read Mr. Myers appear to malign the effects of Proposition 13.

He realized and stated that Proposition 13 merely "flattened increases in historical property taxes" and made that sound like a bad thing.

What is wrong with our city government planning on a 2 percent yearly increase in resources?

Recently, we witnessed why it is so important that all of our residents maintain a constant watch over what is happening in our community. That prime example was this year's Sanitation District fee increase proposal.

Because of an exception in Proposition 218, fee increases approved by the Sanitation District Board are not limited to Consumer Price Index changes.

At first, the Sanitation District Staff proposed a 300 percent increase over six years.

When the Sanitation District Board rejected that proposal, the Sanitation District staff returned with an alternate suggestion. This new proposal, approved by the Sanitation Board, amounted to an 11 percent increase this year when the CPI is zero.

A look at historical data showed that our Sanitation District assessments have increased since 2004 from $118 a year to $199 a year. That is almost double. In addition, connection fees went from $2,330 in 2007 to $3,800 in 2009, an increase of more than 30 percent.

Look at your property tax bill. It demonstrates the importance of legislation like Proposition 13 which adds some reasonableness to the amount that our government agencies can require us to pay.

But more importantly legislation like Proposition 13 forces governmental agencies to plan more realistically and live within their means.

So, if that is Mr. Myers' point, then I agree, the city of Santa Clarita should be complimented because it has "endured all the ill winds of tax-receipt misfortune during the current economic troubles."

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