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SAN FERNANDO : Sewer Fee Delayed Amid Angry Charges

August 04, 1993|CARMEN VALENCIA

Amid angry charges that a proposed sewer fee unfairly penalizes certain property owners, the San Fernando City Council held off from approving the measure until city staff studies other options.

The council voted Monday to continue a public hearing to Aug. 16 after more than a dozen residents blasted the annual $32 parcel charge for each single-family dwelling, contending that the fee should be based instead on the amount of sewer flow or the number of people per household.

"All I have is just me. Yet, I'm paying the same as people with 15 or 20 people in the house," said Jackie Clifton, a 7th Street resident. "It's very unfair."

"I'll pay my fair share, but I want everybody else to pay theirs," said resident Duke Pupich.

Several residents also complained that the parcel charge violated the spirit of Proposition 13 by adding the fee to property tax bills.

"It's certainly circumventing what we all overwhelmingly voted for in the state of California," said resident Roberta Philpy. "A parcel charge on our tax bill is certainly a tax."

In addition to the protests aired during the hearing, the city received 17 letters and more than 20 phone calls from property owners lodging complaints about the charge.

The money generated from the annual fee would be earmarked for the purchase of additional sewer capacity from the city of Los Angeles. Since the proposed fee follows a hike in water and sewer rates, city officials suggested that it become effective in fiscal year 1994-95.

Council members seemed in favor of charging residents by the amount of sewer flow and making the fee a monthly, rather than an annual, charge.

"The council is saying we need to look at this further," Mayor Daniel Acuna said. "I think we have to look at every avenue, every possibility here."

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