Birthday, farewells, parcel tax at Forum…

The nearly three-dozen attendees at the Chamber’s monthly Government Affairs Forum sponsored by Keystone 365 Foundation Community Builder sponsor member Expedia this morning celebrated the 90th birthday of chairman Peter Ulrich and participated in a ceremonial send-off of appreciation for the five longtime legislative representatives who will no longer be with us each month due to the shuffling of state and federal legislators. (See photo gallery below.)
Government Affairs Forum sponsorWhen business got underway, attendees also heard from featured speaker Phil Doudar, L.A. County Department of Public Works Principal Engineer, who gave a presentation on the controversial proposed parcel tax to pay for improved storm water runoff (summary below). Regular monthly reports were also provided by City, County, State, and Federal officials, representatives from the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority and the Monrovia-Arcadia-Duarte Town Council.
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L.A. County’s proposed parcel tax has drawn opposition from the County’s own Mayor of Supervisors Michael D. Antonovich for not only being too onerous on owners of large properties, including school districts, but also for the way the recently-mailed proposition to voters appears to be junk mail and which will only not move forward if half of all recipients of the mailing send it back indicating they are opposed. Recent Congressional candidate Jack Orswell said at this morning’s meeting that the mailing also makes it a challenge to physically cut off the portion to be mailed in.

Doudar said the County’s Flood Control District’s proposal called Proposition 218 would require cities to filter all water run-off to attain higher standards of quality. If 50% of voters do not return the mailing indicating they are opposed, the process will move forward towards a ballot vote. He said the cost to 80% of homeowners would be about $54 per year. Most condo owners would pay about $20 per year. About 75% of commercial properties would pay about $420 per year, he said. But many would pay much more, including school districts which own large chunks of property, although Doudar said the County is working with schools to find ways to mitigate the costs. About 40% of the money collected in any city would be returned to that municipality.

Arcadia City Manager Dominic Lazzaretto said that the City would be facing a new $76,000 parcel tax fee. And while the 40% returned to the City of Arcadia would be $750,000 – $1 million, the expenses required by the County to improve the water quality from mountain water runoff would be about four times that amount, or many millions of dollars that would have to come out of the City’s General Fund.

In other reports, Senator Huff representative David Monroy said that the recent re-drawing of district boundaries for state legislators will leave Arcadia without a representative in the senate for the time being. While Huff, who officially represented Arcadia until the election, will fill the void this month, Arcadia’s new district is not designated to have an election until 2014, when it is expected that Senator Ed Hernandez would be assigned to the district. Legislators are expected to vote in January on what to do with Arcadia’s district in the interim. One scenario has Senator Carol Liu being assigned to Arcadia’s district for 2013.

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