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Water fee proposal passes

Posted: September 4, 2009 9:35 p.m.
Updated: September 5, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Santa Clarita homeowners have approved a proposal that could lead to increases in stormwater fees, city officials said Friday.

More than 13,000 homeowners mailed in their ballots by the Aug. 25 deadline, with 10,294 votes cast in favor of the measure and 3,165 votes against.

The passage allows the city to adopt a new formula for calculating stormwater fees, which will result in an initial decrease in the charge for 86 percent of Santa Clarita homes, said Travis Lange, Santa Clarita environmental services manager.

The average home would see a rate reduction from $24 per year to $21.50 per year, Lange added. But for properties larger than an acre, the rates would go up.

Larger parcels with lots of hardscape - concrete, asphalt and the like - that contribute more runoff to the stormwater system could face increases of $40 per year and, in the case of a 15-acre parcel, as much as $400, he said.

After the initial decrease in fees, which will show up in 2010 stormwater bills, homeowners could eventually face annual increases to their stormwater fees, as the ballot includes a mechanism to increase the stormwater fee each year with inflation, Lange said.
City officials said that would amount to about a $1 increase most years for most residents.

Stormwater fees are used to maintain, improve and replace storm-drainage facilities in Santa Clarita, Lange said. The fees also go toward monitoring illegal dumping and discharging, he added.


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