Vote delayed on new storm water fee

LOS ANGELES - The L.A. County Board of Supervisors delayed a vote Tuesday on a proposed parcel tax to fund storm water improvements.Supervisors can not levy the tax themselves. Instead, they are debating whether to put the proposal in front of L.A. County voters. It is estimated that the proposed fee would cost L.A. County homeowners about $54 a year. Commercial property owners, however, could pay substantially more. Nearly 200 people spoke out at a public hearing Tuesday. "We continued to hear complaints from residents, businesses, school districts, churches and non-profits that this process has not been open and transparent," said Supervisor Don Knabe, who opposes the Clean Water, Clean Beaches Measure. "Even as the board was hearing testimonies at the public hearing, my office was receiving e-mails and phone calls from residents asking where they could get a protest form and how they could protest the measure." The board's action Tuesday extended the protest period an additional 60 days. It also gives county staff time to consider an online protest option and respond to concerns of double taxation by residents already capturing and treating storm water. "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," Knabe said. If the measure is ultimately approved by voters, the money would be used to treat polluted storm water and urban runoff.

********** Published: January 17, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 40