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Reports almost ready as meetings loom

Two documents are aimed at helping noncity residents decide whether or not to seek annexation

Posted: May 29, 2009 10:10 p.m.
Updated: May 30, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Two documents, each of them vital to the future of the Santa Clarita Valley’s Westside unincorporated communities, are expected to be ready just in time for June public information meetings, according to officials.

“It has to come by next week,” said Rosalind Wayman, field representative for L.A. County Fifth District Supervisor Michael Antonovich.

The approaching public information meeting to provide details on governance options for Westside residents makes the completion of the feasibility report more important than ever, she added

The initial feasibility analysis and the options report should be released within the next two weeks. The documents contain critical financial information on the Westside communities, Wayman said. Completion of one of the documents was delayed because of personal issues for one of the consultants involved, she said.

The Westside communities of Castaic, West Ridge and Stevenson Ranch are deciding whether to incorporate and form their own cities, annex into the city of Santa Clarita, or remain unincorporated and under the sole authority of Los Angeles County.

A nonbinding vote in November will cue members on the Castaic and West Ranch town councils, and the Santa Clarita City Council, about which way area residents would like to go.

The initial feasibility report details the finances of the Westside communities and helps residents decide which form of government is best, Wayman said.  “It’s the actual revenue and expenditures for the mapped areas (considering annexation),” she said.

The county is responsible for the initial feasibility assessment. The county hired a consultant who should have the report finalized by Friday, Wayman said.

While the county has provided financial support to the study, it won’t take sides, said Tony Bell, Antonovich’s spokesman. “The Supervisor supports the will of the people on the Westside,” he said.  

At the same time that the county is compiling the feasibility report, the city of Santa Clarita was tasked with compiling an options report. Like the county, the city hired a consultant to complete the study, said Darren Hernandez, Santa Clarita deputy city manager.

The report compares the financial and tax implications of annexation, incorporation or remaining unincorporated and should be ready by June 15, Hernandez said.

Renee Sabol, member of the Castaic Town Council, said both reports are important for residents to make an informed decision.

“I think these documents will be a place to start. They are jumping-off points to ask more questions,” she said.

“Annexation is pretty straightforward, and we know where we stand as an unincorporated area,” she said. She wants to investigate the third option, and then decide which of the three options works in the best interests of the community, Sabol said.

What she doesn’t want to see is parts of Castaic annexed by the city, with other parts left in the unincorporated area, Sabol said.

“I don’t want the city of Santa Clarita to cherry-pick the parts it wants,” she said. “We’re a tight-knit community that’s been here for more than 100 years.”

The first public meeting for governance structure will be held June 15 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Stevenson Ranch Elementary School at 25820 North Carroll Lane in Stevenson Ranch.

The second public meeting will be held June 18 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Castaic Middle School at 28900 Hillcrest Parkway in Castaic.




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