Following concerns from hundreds of residents upset over a proposed county fee that would pay for clean water programs, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to extend the public protest period an additional 60 days.
The deadline was originally Tuesday to submit feedback over the water tax, which would raise the typical homeowner’s bill about $54 per year. But now the public process will be extended until March 16 to address key issues such as the feasibility of an online comment option and concern over double taxation for residents who are already collecting and treating storm water.
“We continued to hear complaints from residents, businesses, school districts, churches and non-profits that this process has not been open and transparent,” said L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe. “Even as the Board was hearing testimonies at the public hearing, my office was receiving emails and phone calls from residents asking where they could get a protest form and how they could protest the measure.”
The measure would raise about $295 million to cover costs related to improving water quality and reducing storm water pollution. Although about 90 percent of parcel owners would pay less than $100, commercial property owners could be billed thousands of dollars.
The Flood District estimates it spent about $340 million to control contaminants in the 2010-2011 fiscal year, and the proposed fees would help to offset the cost. The $295 million would be split annually between the Flood District, nine watershed areas that manage clean-up projects and the cities in L.A. County.