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LA County Backs Off Proposed Fee To Clean Up Water Pollution

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(credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

(credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

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textalerts180 LA County Backs Off Proposed Fee To Clean Up Water Pollution

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors backed down Tuesday from a proposed measure that would have imposed a parcel fee on property owners to clean up storm water pollution.

KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reports hundreds of people packed the the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration in downtown Los Angeles to sound off on the plan.

Heal The Bay, The Coalition for Our Water Future, and other groups gathered in a show of support for the ballot measure, which would add about $54 a year for most single family homes and tens of thousands of dollars for large business properties in an effort to increase the water supply.

Under the proposal, most property owners within the Los Angeles County Flood Control District – except portions of the Antelope Valley – would have been affected by the “Clean Water, Clean Beaches” (PDF) measure, which supporters said would have provided $270 million in annual funding for pollution prevention, cleaning up local waterways, and replenish local aquifers with rainwater.

A typical homeowner would have paid about $4.50 per month, but the actual amount paid would be determined by the amount of runoff their parcel generates. The fee would be collected with the property taxes beginning on the 2013-2014 County of Los Angeles property tax roll.

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO the Board faces stiff opposition in garnering support.

“It’s going to be very difficult because people are not in a taxing mood right now,” Yaroslavsky said. “We’re not doing this because we want to…we have to bring ourselves into compliance with federal environmental laws or we are subject to significant fines, which would be very burdensome as well.”

But opposition from a coalition of nearly 50 businesses led by the Los Angeles County Business Federation may have ultimately persuaded the Board to back down from the controversial fee plan and opt instead to place the measure before voters.

Santa Clarita councilman Tim Ben Boydston was among the plan’s opponent who spoke at the Board meeting.

“If this august board passes a tax on God’s good rain, then I would, as a fellow politician, have a few other great ideas: perhaps a tax on sunshine. It’s free…we’re not getting our piece,” Boydston said.

“Another gift that God gives us is common sense, and let’s use that and take a page from our Sheriff’s when they tell our kids what to do about drugs: just say no,” he added.

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