The votes are in and being tabulated for the city’s proposed Open Space and Parkland Preservation District. The balloting period ended with the closing of a public hearing on the issue at the Tuesday session of the Santa Clarita City Council. Of approximately 48,500 ballots mailed to city property owners in October, a little more than 17,600 completed ballots were returned, City Clerk Sharon Dawson said Wednesday. With assistance from city staff members, the results are being tabulated by Harris and Associates, the city’s consultants on the district. Dawson said she expects the ballots to be counted by Thursday at the latest, and the results will be listed as an agenda item on the council’s Dec. 13 agenda. For the district’s formation, the ballot results will have to show at least 50 percent or more of the votes in favor of its creation. “This is one of the final steps in creating the district,” City Manager Ken Pulskamp said. If approved, the proposed parks district would levy city property owners a fee of $25.10 for the 2006-07 fiscal year, for the purchase, maintenance and preservation of parks and open space property throughout the city. In addition to maintaining existing properties, the city hopes to use the district to complete a so-called “green belt” of parks and open space surrounding the city. The city has 220 acres of active park space, with a goal of five acres for every 1,000 residents. Based on the population, that means the city will need a total of 800 acres of park space. When the city incorporated in 1987 it had 60 acres of active park space.
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