Los Angeles County voters may soon be asked to vote on a new “parcel” tax to be levied on private property owners’ “impenetrable areas” — everything from rooftops to driveways — to help pay for the capture of recyclable stormwater runoff.
In its next meeting Tuesday morning, July 17, the county Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on adopting the “Safe, Clean Water Program” measure proposed by the county Public Works Department, and consider placing an ordinance and parcel tax measure on the November 6 general election ballot.
According to county documents, the measure would “impose a special tax upon parcels located within the Los Angeles County Flood Control District, to fund projects and programs to increase stormwater capture and reduce stormwater and urban runoff pollution.”
The tax would be 2.5 cents per square foot of “impermeable” surface.
“Impermeable area” means a parcel area covered by materials or constructed surfaces such as buildings, roofs, paved roadways, sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, brick, asphalt, concrete, pavers, covers, slabs, sheds, pools and other constructed surfaces or hardscape features.
Since impermeable areas do not absorb rainwater, it becomes runoff that makes its way into storm drains and, unless captured and recycled, flows down local waterways en route to the Pacific Ocean.
Impermeable areas do not include permeable surfaces that do absorb water and don’t create runoff, such as vegetated areas, grasses, bushes, shrubs, lawns, bare soil, tree canopy, natural water bodies, wetland areas, gravel, gardens and planters on bare soil, rocky shores and other natural areas.
The measure would require a two-thirds majority vote in November to pass.
Because Prop. 13 limits property tax increases, the proposed fee is being called a “parcel” tax. But in effect, it is an additional tax on property.
After hearing any public comments about the proposed measure Tuesday, the Supervisors will vote whether to follow the DPW’s recommendations to determine that the proposed actions are not a project under the California Environmental Quality Act, and to place the measure on the November ballot.
The measure must receive three of the five Supervisors’ votes on Tuesday to move forward.
If the parcel tax is added to the November ballot and approved by two-thirds of the voters, the total projected gross revenues would be approximately $300 million per year for the Los Angeles Region, according to countyu documents.
This amount would be subject to reductions as provided for in the credit program described in the Program Elements document, and exemptions for parcels owned by qualifying low-income seniors.
Ten percent (approximately $30 million gross) would be distributed to the District for implementation and administration of projects, programs, and activities to increase stormwater capture and reduce stormwater and urban runoff pollution (Eligible Activities), and for costs incurred in connection with the levy and collection of the tax and distribution of the funds.
Forty percent (approximately $120 million gross) would be allocated to municipalities within the District, including the unincorporated area of the county, in proportion to the tax collected in each jurisdiction, to carry out Eligible Activities.
Fifty percent (approximately $150 million gross) would be allocated to the nine watershed areas to fund regional watershed-based Eligible Activities proportional to the funds generated in each watershed area.
Each watershed area will have a Watershed Area Steering Committee who will allocate funding to regional projects within their area.
Read the agenda item [here].
See the full agenda [here]).
Find out more at SafeCleanWaterLA.org.