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Sewer vote pending

If approved, sanitation rates will climb from $14.92 per month for each homeowner to $47

Posted: May 24, 2009 10:00 p.m.
Updated: May 25, 2009 4:55 a.m.
A vote on increasing sewer-tax assessments for local property owners is on the agenda for the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Santa Clarita City Hall.

A three-member board, made up of two Santa Clarita City Council members and Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Don Knabe, will decide whether to approve a sewer-rate hike, said Dave Bruns, Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts assistant financial planner.

If approved, the sanitation rates will climb from $14.92 per month for each homeowner to $47 by 2015.

The proposed sanitation hike would pay for $250 million worth of upgrades to two sanitation treatment plants in Santa Clarita, Bruns said.

The upgrades are necessary to remove high chloride levels from the wastewater released into the Santa Clara River.
The chloride levels in the wastewater make it difficult for farmers in Ventura County, who rely on water from the river, to grow their crops, Bruns said.

The State Water Quality Control Board is mandating the reduction of chloride levels from their current levels of more than 130 parts per million to 117 parts per million by 2015, Bruns said.

An alternative plan to not treat the water and build an out-fall line to transport the salty water from the SCV to the Pacific Ocean was abandoned because the cost of that project was estimated at more than $500 million, he said.

If approved, the increased sanitation sewer assessment will go into effect July 1 and will show up on the property tax bills of homeowners in December, he said.

Homeowners can block the rate increase by submitting protest letters.

If the board receives protest letters from more than 50 percent of homeowners in the SCV before the board members vote on May 26, the sewer-assessment rate hike will be stopped, Bruns said.

Protest letters can be submitted at City Hall prior to the meeting.

A second public meeting also dealing with water is scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

The Los Angeles County Flood Control District has recalculated its storm-water fee, said Darren Hernandez, Santa Clarita deputy city manager.

Under the new calculation, residents in the city will pay less money for storm-water fees, he said.

Santa Clarita's low-density housing and open space produce less runoff than elsewhere in the city, where there is more hard pavement and dense living, Hernandez said.

The Santa Clarita City Hall is at 23920 Valencia Blvd.


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