Another day of reckoning is here for the Clean Waters, Clean Beaches Act, a measure that, depending on whom is asked, is either a tax on God’s rain or a necessary measure to curb urban pollution.
After a pair of hearings in front of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors ended with a handful of supporters and literally hundreds of complaints, the board voted 4-1 to table the motion until more study could be completed on the topic.
County supervisors are set to consider a progress report on the Clean Water, Clean Beaches Act at their meeting Tuesday.
Citing unclear goals for the massive amount of revenue it would generate, the board wanted more time on the issue. However, Fifth District Supervisor Michael Antonovich said it would be something he would never support.
Citing the issue as a state concern, Antonovich roundly rejected the move.
Antonovich said “I would object on the basis that this is a state responsibility. We can all agree that clean water is a necessity and it’s a state issue,” Antonovich said. “Why is this on the back of the local taxpayer?”
The last hearing endured for more than four hours and heard more than 100 comments — similar to the last time the proposal was reviewed by the county’s Board of Supervisors.
If passed, the proposal would generate more than $200 million for the county.
To that end, county officials are asking for help from Sacramento, and have established a timeline for the legality of a new stormwater fee under Proposition 218, which mandates a vote for any new tax hike.
County CEO William Fujioka asked for the state’s help to further outreach on the necessity for such a measure, citing a “massive and urgent need to educate the public.”
Despite the fact that more than 100 public comments urged against such a measure, Fujioka wrote that there was no written majority protest, and said Flood Control District officials must propose a resolution by March 4, 2014 to get a measure together by the June 3, 2014 election.
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky asked Flood Control District staff to prepare a ballot measure for either June 2014 or November 2014, which would create funds for the construction of stormwater pollution measures.
In order to officially kill the proposal in a public hearing, there would need to be more than 1.1 million parcel owners file a written response.
Even if the measure were consolidated into a general election, it would still cost the county around $10 million, according to a Fujioka’s report.