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More Water Related Fees? Claremont's Council Says 'No'

Council members voted not to support the Clean Water, Clean Beaches measure proposed by the Los Angeles County Flood Control District.

Claremont’s City Council on Tuesday voted to oppose a new water-related fee proposed by the Los Angeles County Flood Control District residents.

Council members voted not to support the Clean Water, Clean Beaches measure that would establish an annual fee to pay for clean water programs. The Los Angeles County Flood Control District is proposing the measure.

While Claremont does embrace green, environmentally responsible programs, council members said this measure had a funding gap that could cost Los Angeles County residents a lot in fees to support it.

According to a staff report, “the Clean Water, Clean Beaches Measure based on the inadequate funding that the Measure provides in comparison to the overall funding requirements of the *MS4 permit as well as the adverse impacts of imposing an additional tax on Claremont residents.”

The city is also advising residents to keep an eye open for ballots mailed out by the county that asks people to vote for the measure because the county is using a protest hearing to meet the requirements of Proposition 218.

“This means that 51 percent of county residents must protest if they do not want the measure to move forward,” City Engineer Craig Bradshaw wrote in a staff report. “The county plans to hold a public hearing to discuss the results on Jan. 15, 2013.”

City officials were concerned some may mistake the ballots for something else and toss them out.

If it passes, property owners within the Los Angeles County Flood Control District - which includes most of Los Angeles County with the exception of portions of the Antelope Valley – would be subject to the fee. This currently includes all properties such as government and school district buildings. The goal is to fund efforts to improve water quality and reducing pollution from storm water and urban runoff.

City staff estimated the city’s annual fees could total $102,702. Total fees paid by Claremont property owners are estimated at $1,539,658.

Council members also approved of staff’s decision to send in ballots for city properties voting against the measure.

* The MS4 is a new permit adopted by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board Regional Board on Nov. 8, 2012 known as the Waste Discharge Requirements for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Discharges within the Coastal Watersheds of Los Angeles County, city officials said.

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