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Council to hear case for rate hike

Water: Increase needed to reduce salt

Posted: May 21, 2010 11:22 p.m.
Updated: May 22, 2010 6:00 a.m.

Under a proposed rate increase, local residents could pay as much as 50 percent more for sewer-water treatment in four years than they are now.

Santa Clarita City Council members will hear the reasoning behind that planned rate hike at Tuesday night's City Council meeting with the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District.

The rate increase is needed for maintenance of two plants as well as for building a treatment system that removes salt from the area's wastewater, the district's CEO, Stephen Maguin, wrote in a letter to the council.

The council will hear the district's case and provide direction to the Sanitation District's board, which includes Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste and Councilwoman Marsha McLean, as well as Los Angeles Supervisor Gloria Molina.

The City Council meeting, which is open to the public, begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Santa Clarita City Hall.

On Thursday night, a public informational meeting on the proposed rate increase is scheduled with the Sanitation District board. The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

Residents voted two years ago to do away with in-home water softeners in an effort to bring the salt level to the state standard of 117 milligrams per liter.

Since water softeners were banned, the level has dropped from about 190 milligrams per liter to 130 milligrams, but the level still doesn't meet state standards.

The Santa Clarita Valley's wastewater is treated and then released into the Santa Clara River, which travels through Ventura County on its way to the ocean. Farmers draw from the river, and some of the growers say high levels of salt may harm the avocado and strawberry crops there.

Weste called for the public meeting Thursday, city spokeswoman Gail Ortiz said.

Also on the council's agenda for Tuesday night is a public hearing on the city's budget for next year, term limits for appointed city boards and commissions, and a rate increase for solid waste service.

The City Council will also consider allowing businesses in the city's redevelopment area in Newhall to display merchandise outside.


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