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San Gabriel Valley Digest

Bradbury : Assessment for Security

March 25, 1993

The Bradbury Estates homeowners association is looking for ways to assess homeowners to pay for security in the wake of the city's decision last week to stop using county property tax money to pay for guards there.

For 14 years, as much as $50,000 a year in taxpayer dollars has been used to pay for 24-hour security--one guard at all times--at the entrance to the gated community of about 100 residents.

Before Proposition 13 passed in 1978, residents of Bradbury Estates taxed themselves through a special assessment district. But county officials say that such self-assessment was annulled under Proposition 13 and that state legislation required the Bradbury Estates special district to receive a share of the 1% property tax collected annually by the county.

Officials with the homeowners association have hired an attorney to determine how Bradbury Estates residents can assess themselves to pay for security. In the meantime, homeowners association officials say they will continue to fund the security out of annual association fees.

The use of public funds to pay for Bradbury Estates' security was first contested by Bradbury resident Robert Penney. Now city officials say the retiree has sparked another controversy: whether the city's financial records are in order and whether a city credit card was used improperly.

Among other things, Penney maintains that the city has not provided him with public records on how it has spent hundreds of dollars that were charged on a city credit card used by City Manager Dolly Vollaire and possibly other staff members.

In a closed session Monday, the council voted to hire an auditor--and an outside attorney to oversee that person's work--to review the city's financial records and determine whether there have been any improprieties relating to Penney's concerns, according to Mayor Audrey Hon.

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