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Group joins fight against sewer rate

Sewer: Canyon Country Advisory Committee chairman says the chloride issue is a ‘shared problem’

Posted: July 22, 2010 10:19 p.m.
Updated: July 23, 2010 4:55 a.m.

A Canyon Country community group was rallying its members this week to protest a proposed spike in sanitation fees less than a week before officials could approve increasing Santa Clarita Valley residents’ rates by $97.08 over the next four years.

Canyon Country Advisory Committee Chairman Al Ferdman said valley residents shouldn’t have to be the only community footing the bill for a $210-million water-treatment plant to reduce chloride levels in the Santa Clara River to state-mandated levels.

Ferdman urged the 36 members at Wednesday night’s meeting to mail protest forms to Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District officials.

“It’s a shared problem. This isn’t all a problem of Santa Clarita,” Ferdman said Thursday. “It’s a problem of upstream users who dump salt in the water and we contribute to it in part. But the burden of the whole thing is placed on the shoulders of Santa Clarita.”

But even if all 36 residents at the meeting send in protest forms, the SCV residents will be about 28,000 forms short of stopping the fee increase from going to a vote.

In June, officials mailed out Proposition 218 notices to 67,898 property owners in the SCV, said John Kilgore, financial planning deputy for the sanitation district. If the district gets 33,949 protest forms either mailed or hand delivered at a public hearing in Santa Clarita City Hall on July 27 board members won’t be able to vote on the rate hike at the hearing, Kilgore said.

Officials have received 6,568 protest forms as of Thursday, Kilgore said.

Currently, residents pay $198.96 a year in sanitation fees. If the increase is approved next week, residents will pay $296.04 in 2013-14, a 48.8-percent increase.

After four years, the board of directors will decide if they are going to build the chloride-treatment plant if the rate hike is approved this year. If they decide to build the treatment plant, residents could be charged about $600 a year in 2020-21, according to a sanitation district presentation. Officials hope reduced chloride levels will protect the crops of strawberry and avocado farmers downstream.


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