Knabe motion extends public comment on proposed storm water assessment

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Posted January 24, 2013 by The Argonaut in News
A Los Angeles County proposal to generate funds for a storm water cleanup project for local beaches through a parcel assessment has been postponed until March.
The Board of Supervisors decided against taking a vote on the Clean Water, Clean Beaches measure Jan. 15 and instead voted to give residents more time to offer their opinions for or against the levy.
Fourth District Supervisor Don Knabe introduced the motion, which passed 3-2.
“We continued to hear complaints from residents, businesses, school districts, churches and non-profits that this process has not been open and transparent,” said Knabe, who represents Marina del Rey. “Even as the board was hearing testimonies at the public hearing, my office was receiving emails and phone calls from residents asking where they could get a protest form and how they could protest the measure.”
The motion continues the public hearing and protest process for an additional 60 days in order to address several key issues in the process, including the feasibility of an online protest option and addressing the concern of double taxation for those who are already capturing and treating storm water, the supervisor’s office said.
“Many property owners and businesses are already doing the things the parcel fee is meant to achieve; this is a double tax for them,” Knabe noted. “Renters should have a voice as an increase in parcel fees would likely be passed on to them. Everyone wants clean water – put this to the voters so they can decide if this fee is how they want to try to achieve that.”
The county proposal would have assessed property owners approximately $55 a year to fund storm water cleanup initiatives locally and regionally and created regional watershed authorities. The issue would have been decided through a special election among property owners and landlords.
Organizations such as Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay are backing the Clean Water, Clean Beaches initiative. They say it has the potential to drastically improve the water quality not only at local beaches but throughout the region.
The motion also instructs the Department of Public Works to provide a process for placing the initiative on a general election ballot, define a specific list of clean water projects, determine a possible sunset date for the measure and develop a potential alternative method of funding storm water quality projects.

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