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Supervisors delay discussion on storm water cleanup fee

Posted: June 11, 2013 4:15 p.m.
Updated: June 11, 2013 4:15 p.m.
 

County supervisors voted Tuesday to delay a planned discussion on a controversial measure that would charge a countywide landowner fee for storm water cleanup.

The board vote grants a request from the county Department of Public Works for a two-week extension on the fee, known as the Clean Water, Clean Beaches measure.

The matter is now scheduled to come back to the board for discussion June 25.

As originally proposed, the Clean Water, Clean Beaches measure would assess a fee on all land parcels in Los Angeles County to bankroll efforts to reduce water pollution and bring the county into compliance with state and federal clean water mandates.

Fees would range depending on the size and makeup of properties, but would average $54 a year for most single-family residential properties, $250 a year for typical fast-food restaurants or convenience stores and approximately $11,000 a year for “big box” retailers, according to figures from Public Works.

But hundreds of public speakers criticized the fee during public hearings in January and March, citing problems with how the fees were calculated, the fact that the fee did not have a specified expiration date and the lack of exemptions for school districts or nonprofit agencies.

Another issue was that some cities, including Santa Clarita, already collected a fee for storm water pollution cleanup.

Several members of the Santa Clarita City Council traveled to Los Angeles to speak to point that out to supervisors.

“This is double taxation in its purest form,” said Councilwoman Marsha McLean during the March 13 public hearing.

Local school officials also protested the fee, with Newhall School District Superintendent Marc Winger saying it would cost Santa Clarita Valley schools a combined $600,000 a year.

After extensive discussion on March 12, supervisors voted 4-1 to send the fee back to the drawing board to address issues raised by the public.

Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich was the lone dissenting vote on the matter, saying the state should assume the cost, since water cleanup is a state matter.

“The supervisor’s position remains that the state should be responsible for this effort and that county residents should not bear the burden of this state mandate,” wrote Antonovich spokesman Tony Bell in an email Tuesday.

Lmoney@signalscv.com
661-287-5525
On Twitter @LukeMMoney

 

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