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Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : Santa Clarita May Subsidize Some County-Funded Programs


SANTA CLARITA — How wide are Santa Clarita's shoulders?

As city officials consider leasing Bouquet Canyon Park in Saugus to head off its closure by Los Angeles County, there are several other county-funded programs Santa Clarita may have to subsidize if they are to continue.

Two additional parks, two libraries and a bookmobile program, a community service center, a nature center and a health center--all located in the Santa Clarita Valley--face staff reductions, reduced hours or outright closure as county funds disappear. The list does not include reductions planned for the Sheriff's Department, Fire Department and district attorney's office.

All told, they are said to be some of the most dramatic cuts local residents have ever faced.

"In the history of the Santa Clarita Valley as far as I know, this is the first time there has ever been a discussion of closing a park," Assistant City Manager Ken Pulskamp said.

Although "not a nickel" has been set aside in Santa Clarita's budget to fund faltering county programs, according to Pulskamp, residents have asked the city to shoulder the additional costs.

Los Angeles County is pulling back on its services in response to the state proposal to shift 47.2% of county property tax revenue--$1.2 billion--to shore up California's budget.

In addition to the proposed closure of Bouquet Canyon Park, the county wants to cancel future maintenance and recreation programs for Del Valle and Hasley Canyon parks, saving the $200,000 per year it costs to operate them.

The Newhall-based Santa Clarita Community Service Center provides job assistance, legal advice, counseling, translations and more, and may be closed while the state-owned, county-run Placerita Canyon Nature Center needs $150,000 to continue operations.

Santa Clarita has also been asked to help the Canyon Country and Newhall libraries maintain their hours of operation.

"The library system is one that is a critical part of our community. We're going to do everything in our power to make sure those libraries stay open," Mayor Jan Heidt said.

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