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Property owners face likely vote on new pollution fees

Posted: December 5, 2012 6:42 p.m.
Updated: December 5, 2012 6:42 p.m.
 

A fee that could cost local property owners up to $82 a year is set for a public hearing and vote early next year unless the county receives widespread written opposition to the proposal.

Officials from the Los Angeles County Flood Control District are in the process of sending out notices to property owners alerting them of the proposed fee that would fund the Clean Water, Clean Beaches measure, an effort to clean up polluted water runoff that flows into county waterways.

The fee would be around $54 a year for most county residential properties. No single-family homeowner would pay more than $82 a year, according to the Flood Control District.

The deadline to file official protests against the proposed fee hike is Jan. 15, the same day the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the matter, supervisors said Tuesday.

The Clean Water, Clean Beaches measure would fund a variety of water-purification projects around the county.

Some of the projects that could be funded in Santa Clarita include installing screens and filters for storm drains to prevent trash and debris from entering waterways; providing street-sweeping services to reduce the amount of debris that could be swept up in a storm; and developing “green” streets and structures that both retain and cleanse water runoff.

While the proposed fee has the same revenue-generating purpose as a tax, it is different in the sense that it is geared specifically to offset the cost of cleaning polluted water runoff that flows from developed properties and cannot be used for any other purpose, according to the Flood Control District.

After the Jan. 15 public hearing, the county will move forward with a mail-in vote on the measure unless a majority of the county’s property owners file written protests against the measure by that date.

At the Tuesday board meeting, Supervisors Michael D. Antonovich and Don Knabe said the mailer notifying property owners of the public hearing looks so much like junk mail that many could accidentally throw it away.

Antonovich also said the mailer does not include a return envelope, which could add to the confusion.

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky rejected those claims, noting each mailer is marked as an official county correspondence.
“This sure doesn’t look like junk mail to me,” Yaroslavsky said.

Both Knabe and Antonovich voted against the measure when it came before the board July 3. Antonovich referred to the vote-by-mail measure as a “sneak attack” on property owners during that board meeting.

lmoney@signalscv.com
661-287-5525

 

 

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