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Santa Clarita Cityhood Backers Say County Tax Loss Is Overstated

July 22, 1987|MAYERENE BARKER | Times Staff Writer

Backers of a Nov. 3 cityhood election in the Santa Clarita Valley told Los Angeles County supervisors Tuesday that they have new figures that show the county will lose $1.3 million in sales tax revenue, rather than $3 million, if the election is allowed on that date.

The projected $3 million loss to the county has been the major stumbling block to approval by the Board of Supervisors of the November election date.

Supervisors Pete Schabarum and Deane Dana oppose that date on the grounds that a favorable vote would allow the city to incorporate Dec. 1, costing the county $3 million in sales-tax revenue through the end of the fiscal year. Instead, they support an election in either April or June, which would allow the county to continue collecting sales taxes for another six months.

However, Connie Worden, Santa Clarita City Formation Committee spokeswoman, told the supervisors, "We believe the $3-million figure that has been discussed is for a full year." The cityhood committee's calculations cover the period from Dec. 1 until June 30, the end of the county's fiscal year, Worden said.

$3.5-Million Surplus

After the meeting, cityhood committee member Louis Garasi said the proposed city's annual $3.5-million budget surplus is due mainly to sales-tax revenue.

"During the first six months, only 45% of total annual sales tax is collected," Garasi said. "Therefore, the real surplus, or loss to the county would be 45% of $3.5 million, or $1.575 million."

He said the loss to the county would be further reduced by the increased state payment of fire-protection fees, which for six months would be $282,037.

Worden added that the cityhood committee has agreed to pay back $2.7 million for street and park maintenance and law enforcement services provided by the county for that six-month period.

In a related move, Mike Antonovich, who represents the Santa Clarita Valley, delayed a vote on the cityhood matter for the third week in a row hoping to gain support of two of his colleagues.

Hahn's Vote Sought

Antonovich scheduled another vote on the issue Aug. 4, when he said Supervisor Kenneth Hahn will attend his first board meeting since he suffered a stroke in January. Hahn has announced his support for the Nov. 3 election date. Three favorable votes from the five-member board are needed to schedule the election.

Supervisor Ed Edelman has not indicated his position on the election. However, Edelman, unlike Schabarum, voted in favor of the Nov. 3 election date in June when the Local Agency Formation Commission approved the proposed 40-square-mile city. Edelman and Schabarum represent the county on the commission.

Not having received a signal from Edelman still leaves cityhood backers "on tenterhooks," Worden said.

If supervisors approve the November election Aug. 4, potential candidates for the City Council will have only until 5 p.m. Aug. 7 to complete their papers and file them with the registrar of voters, she said.

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