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February 25
1936 - U.S. release of Charles Chaplin film "Modern Times," partially shot in SCV [story]


The Santa Clarita City Council adopted a resolution Tuesday effecting voter-approved changes to the city’s landscape maintenance district.

While one spoke in favor, three members of the public questioned the process the city used to add 5,957 parcels to its landscape maintenance district. Now 87 percent of homes and businesses, versus the previous 76 percent, will pay for the upkeep of medians, street trees, paseos and similar amenities in the public right-of-way.

Under the change, fees for most homeowners are reduced, in some cases by 50 percent or more. Property owners in different parts of town pay different amounts, based on the landscaping benefit they receive – and property owners in zones earmarked for a reduction apparently outvoted homeowners who will be paying fees for the first time.

Ballots mailed in July to 16,879 property owners had a 36 percent return rate. Weighted by assessment, 56 percent voted “yes” and 44 percent voted “no.”

Newhall and other newly added areas “should have been given the (separate) opportunity to vote down the assessment and the landscaping amenity that came with it,” resident Jim Farley said.

City Treasurer Darren Hernandez said Proposition 218 requires fees to be proportional to the benefit. Previously, residential parcels within a zone paid the same rate as commercial parcels, even though commercial parcels tended to receive a greater benefit from the improvements.

Hernandez said although a simple rate reduction wouldn’t require a vote of affected property owners, the change the city wanted to make to its rate-setting methodology required a vote of the entire district.

Councilman Bob Kellar noted that subsequent to a public hearing two weeks ago, homeowners in the Friendly Valley retirement community were freed from new assessments next year. They wouldn’t be assessed until July 2013, and only then with City Council approval.

Kellar said he wanted to see “some action to prevent this kind of conflict in the future” so that the votes of residents facing new fees wouldn’t be outweighed by voters getting a cut.

Hernandez assured him future changes could be presented in “more bite-sized pieces to make sure they don’t include such a large area.”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Leon, I believe your reporting has gotten the story right. This one is pretty complicated and most other reporters don’t have the time and/or ability and/or desire to delve into something like this. I appreciate your efforts.

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LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Friday, Feb 23, 2018
Tip Leads to Arrest of 2 on Multiple Gun, Drug Charges
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a man and a woman on multiple weapons and drug charges in Castaic early Thursday, according to station officials.
Friday, Feb 23, 2018
California Gubernatorial Candidates Take on Poverty, Gun Control
Democratic gubernatorial candidates vying to replace Gov. Jerry Brown in November debated in San Diego Thursday night how to maintain the Golden State’s strict gun laws and reduce poverty.
Friday, Feb 23, 2018
March 21: SCV Water Public Outreach, Legislation Committee Meeting
Santa Clarita Valley Water Company officials will hold a meeting of the company's Outreach and Legislation Committee on Wednesday, March 21 at 5:30 p.m.
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Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1936 - U.S. release of Charles Chaplin film "Modern Times," partially shot in SCV [story]
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Santa Clarita Studios Scores ABC Show, Debuts New Production Offices
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"SCVTV Presents: An Evening With New West" Friday, February 23 at The MAIN in Old Town Newhall as the award-winning trio brings their signature brand of Western ballads, story songs and cowboy swing to entertain fans in the Santa Clarita Valley.
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