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Santa Clarita City Council drafts letter of protest against proposed storm water fee

Posted: January 9, 2013 7:26 p.m.
Updated: January 9, 2013 7:26 p.m.

Santa Clarita City Council members agreed to set aside as much as $20,000 to take a close look at Los Angeles County’s proposed storm-water cleanup fee.

City spokeswoman Gail Ortiz said the money will fund an engineering assessment study to examine “unanswered questions” related to the proposed fee, which would cost the average single-family home owner about $54 a year, county officials estimate.

Businesses could pay considerably more, depending on their real estate area, and the city itself would pay about $461,490 per year in fees on city-owned properties.

Ortiz said the city will draw particular attention to the fact that the city already collects its own storm-water cleanup fee.

Council members also voted Tuesday night to send a letter to the county raising concerns about the potential overlap between the county fee proposed in July and the city’s existing fee.

Councilman TimBen Boydston criticized the proposed county fee as unnecessary.

“We would be double-taxing all of our citizens,” Boydston said.

The county proposal, known as the Clean Water, Clean Beaches measure, would assess a fee on all buildings in Los Angeles County proportional to the amount of pollution created by their water runoff.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set to vote Jan. 15 on whether to move forward with the fee. If the board gives its approval, the county will conduct mail balloting of all affected property owners in March.

The fee needs a majority vote to pass.

While the city would pay about $461,490 per year, it would pull in about $2.66 million in annual net income due to fee returns from the county Flood Control District.

Council members also voted to send a letter to local schools, businesses and groups to encourage them to examine the impacts of the fee for themselves.

Mayor Bob Kellar characterized the fee as the latest in a long list of unnecessary taxes.
“Do you wonder why businesses are leaving California?” Kellar asked. “Do you wonder why this state is broke?”
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