Another Public Entity Steps Up to the Trough with Fee Proposal
• County Flood Control District Schedules Hearing on Clean Water Tab for SM Bay Watershed
BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN
The Los Angeles County Flood Control District has issued an official notice to Malibu property owners of a public hearing on the proposed Los Angeles County Clean Water, Clean Beaches Measure, which would assess an annual "clean water fee" on all properties in the Santa Monica Bay Watershed.
Although the brochure mailed out by the LACFCD states that "87 percent of homeowners would pay $54 a year or less, typical condos would pay $20 or less [and] no single-family home would pay more than $82," some residents are reporting that they have received notice their rate might exceed the $82 amount. A notice provided to the Malibu Surfside News states that a one acre parcel in the Point Dume area would be assessed at $83.
Because the assessment rate is designed using a formula that is geared toward urban development, many Malibu property owners may find that they are assessed at the highest rate—$82, due to the size of their property rather than the hypothetical amount of runoff generated.
According to the notice, "The measure will help protect public health and safety and improve water quality in Los Angeles County waterways, including the Los Angeles and San Gabriel rivers, creeks, lakes, bays, coastal waters and beaches. "Funding would be available to cities and unincorporated areas for multi-benefit clean water projects to: protect and increase drinking water by increasing groundwater availability; clean up water by keeping pollutants, chemicals, pesticides, toxic metals, infection-causing bacteria and trash out of waterways and off local beaches; expand the use of natural methods of cleaning up water, such as directing stormwater to filter through new wetlands areas before it reaches coastal waters; [and] create partnerships between cities and county unincorporated areas to develop projects strategically located in each watershed. "[It is also anticipated that it could]: Create thousands of local jobs in fields such as construction, engineering, landscaping and environmental cleanup; create clean water education programs to emphasize the importance of keeping trash, used motor oil, and other toxic liquids out of the storm drain system; and install thousands of filters and screens in gutters and storm drains throughout the county to trap trash and pollutants before they can enter waterways." The LACFCD website adds, "This measure allows cities and the county to work collaboratively on water quality projects where they make the most sense, from inland all the way to the ocean, rather than having a string of very expensive and perhaps redundant projects paid for by each city. Projects funded by the measure may be single-purpose, or may be multi-purpose and multi-benefit, cleaning water, recharging groundwater supplies, and beautifying public spaces.
The measure sends 40 percent of funds directly back to cities and county unincorporated communities in proportion to the fees paid by property owners in that area. Cities make decisions about the funding of local water quality projects, which can include new and existing services, such as sweeping streets to capture trash and maintaining storm drains and filters.
The measure also sends 50 percent of funds to watershed authority groups, regional collaborative
groups of cities and county unincorporated communities in that watershed. Watershed authority groups make decisions about funding regional water quality projects in the nine watershed areas.
The remaining 10 percent of funds goes to the County Flood Control District for countywide water quality monitoring, projects for improving water quality, perfor mance oversight and technical assistance to cities and regional collaborations.
If the Board of Supervisors votes to approve the measure ballots will be sent to property owners affected by the measure. A majority of property owners must oppose the proposed fee to prevent the measure's passage. If the measure is approved the fee will be collected every year with property taxes. The fee can be revisited and raised provided the increase is approved at a public hearing and election.
The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, at 9:30 a.m., in the Board of Super visors Hear ing Room, Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, 500 West Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
A protest form is part of the brochure being mailed to each property owner. Persons who would like to submit written testimony should include their parcel address and assessor's parcel number and address their comments to Executive Officer, Board of Supervisors, P.O. Box 866006, Los Angeles County, CA 90086.