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City Council considers new landscaping district

Posted: September 11, 2011 10:00 a.m.
Updated: September 11, 2011 10:00 a.m.
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The Santa Clarita City Council will consider Tuesday night signing off on creating a new landscaping district in Newhall, as well as ongoing changes to the fee rate that city officials say are more equitable for property owners.

Under the Landscape Maintenance District, participating property owners pay an annual fee that is spent on ongoing landscaping in their neighborhoods.

The city plans to add a new district, Old Town Newhall, provided property owners there vote in favor of it, said Kevin Tonoian, the city’s technology-services manager.

The more than 2,000 property owners in the proposed new area were sent ballots to vote on whether they wanted the new district to be formed.

About one-third of those ballots had been returned late last week, Tonoian said.

The city will continue accepting ballots until the Tuesday council meeting, which is at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Santa Clarita City Hall, 23920 Valencia Blvd.

After the council meeting, city staff will go over the ballots. If a majority protest does not exist, city staff will recommend approval for the new Newhall district at the Sept. 27 council meeting, according to a staff report.

Along with forming a new district, the city is updating the fee rate for more districts in a years-long shift that will change the fee calculation from a per-parcel flat rate to a calculation that’s per unit, called an equivalent benefit unit.

That way, many residents might see a smaller landscape-maintenance-district bill, while commercial property owners will likely see an increase, Tonoian said.

NorthPark residents, for example, will likely see a $10 savings annually, he said.

There are 40 local zones now, with a combined annual budget of $14 million. The largest of these is the $4 million thoroughfare median district, which about three out of four property owners in city limits pays into.

The second largest is the $1.8 million Northbridge district with 2,460 parcel owners paying into it, Tonoian said.

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