A special meeting of the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District board of directors will be held Wednesday at 4 p.m. at City Hall to discuss three new taxes that sewer officials say are overdue.
The meeting is a continuation of one held May 26 to consider rates proposed by District staff for the next three fiscal years. (See original story here). The rates proposed in May were tied directly to construction of a plant near the Ventura County border that would remove chloride from the water passed through Santa Clarita from the State Water Project.
After a large turnout at the May meeting, where a significant amount of speakers were against the proposed increases, District board members Santa Clarita Mayor Frank Ferry and Mayor Pro Tem Laurene Weste (Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe has not participated in this process) gave District staff a long list of questions to be addressed.
Subsequent to the May meeting, another meeting was held between Ferry, Mary Ann Lutz and Tracy Egoscue of the Regional Water Quality Control Board and Stephen Maguin of the District, where it was decided to defer indefinitely the chloride regulation and its costs.
This meeting’s agenda includes three taxes: a significantly reduced maintenance service charge of $16.59 per month (which would increase monthly charges by $1.67 per month instead of the $3 initially proposed); a commensurate increase in industrial wastewater surcharge rates and increasing the initial connection fee for new user from $3,300 to $4,500.
Maguin, who serves as chief engineer and general manager of the County Sanitation Districts of LA County, said that the increases for businesses, while they might seem steep, are being proposed to keep up with inflation that has been rampant over the last few years, but has not been passed on.
“Everything is based on a single family home, but big users pay in multiples,” he explained. “We have to operate where new users pay the full costs of connection to buy into the system. They can no longer have part of the costs subsidized by other users.”
Allan Cameron, who represents the developers building the shopping center on Golden Valley Road that includes Kohl’s, Target and Lowe’s, said that the cost of hooking up to the sewer could break the budget of a new business.
“A 4,000 square foot restaurant would pay $150,000 for installation,” he said. “They don’t say that two years ago, the fee was $2,300. Connection fees are usually used to expand facilities because of new demand. Because of the economy, there hasn’t been a huge amount of development. Why do sanitation people think they deserve this kind of money for business they’re not getting?”
The meeting is open to the public and will be held in the City Council Chambers at Santa Clarita City Hall on Valencia Boulevard.