Thursday, January 24, 2013

Vote on Clean Water, Clean Beaches ballot measure postponed

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has granted an extension for those who would like to protest the proposed countywide Clean Water, Clean Beaches tax initiative. If approved, the measure would charge residents an annual fee to help pay for water quality projects.

Those who wish to protest the parcel tax will be allowed 60 more days to do so. As of January 15, only 95,000 people had protested the fee. More than 50 percent of LA County’s 9.8 million residents are needed to stop the tax from going to a vote.

The city of Claremont, the Claremont Unified School District and the Pomona Valley Protective Association (PVPA) joined with numerous other municipalities, school districts and organizations across the county to add their voice in opposition against the Clean Water, Clean Beaches tax, which would cost Claremont an estimated $102,702.58 a year. The Clean Water fee is expected to cost the average single-family homeowner in Claremont $54 a year for a grand total of what city officials believe will be $1,539,658 annually. Only 40 percent of those funds will even be returned to the city for use in its water treatment, Brian Desatnik, director of community development, noted earlier this month.

“The measure provides an inadequate amount of funding to deal with the full compliance issue for the city,” he told the council on January 8. “We believe that if there is going to be an approach to local funding we should have more control over the entire funding source generated locally and that it should deal with the entirety of the issue and not just a small portion.

“It’s just not a solution to the problem,” he continued.

More than 200 individuals spoke at a hearing of the LA County Board of Supervisors earlier this month, gathered to take a vote on whether or not to send the proposed tax to a countywide vote, to voice a similar opinion. Instead, supervisors tabled the vote after weighing the concerns of the public.  Many LA County residents said they were upset about the timing of the proposed measure, sent in a nondescript letter that many noted looked like junk mail during the bustling holiday season. In addition, many were upset about the confusing verbiage of that letter.

Supervisors directed staff to make changes to the measure to include a sunset date, a list of projects and a credit for property owners already collecting storm water before making a decision.

“I think the supervisors did the appropriate thing and have extended [the decision] out and will revisit this in the next couple of months,” said Claremont City Manager Tony Ramos.

In addition to emails, letters of protest can also be mailed to the executive officer of the board of supervisors at PO Box 866006, Los Angeles, CA 90068. For more information on Clean Water, Clean Beaches, visit
—Beth Hartnett

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