Open-space tax heads to voters

first_imgUnlike the open-space measure voters rejected in 2005, the tax assessment could not increase over time with the consumer price index. It could go up by only $1 a year, and the tax would sunset after 30 years. Proponents point out that back in 1896, Griffith J. Griffith donated thousands of acres to the city of Los Angeles to create what would later become Griffith Park. At the time, officials were criticized for taking rural land so far from the developed part of Los Angeles. Today, the park is all but surrounded by urban streets, making it a quick nature getaway for residents. Farley said he is aware of that history, but he does not think the city should get new tax money to buy land. “Our tax burden is high enough already,” he said. Santa Clarita will start mailing out ballots to property owners on May25, city treasurer Darren Hernandez said. Voters will have until July10 to return their ballots, which will be weighted to give larger property owners – including businesses – more of a say. Areas where the city is looking to buy land include the expanse from the Antelope Valley Freeway to the Angeles National Forest, as well as areas around Stevenson Ranch and Vasquez Rocks, according to a city report. “The longer we go without having funding to purchase and preserve open space, the less open space there is available,” Hernandez said. [email protected] (661) 257-5253 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The tax base would allow the city to immediately borrow $23.4million and buy land up to three miles outside city limits. Opponents criticize the plan to buy land outside the city. “I think there’s just a built-in unfairness that … the city of Santa Clarita taxpayers are going to be paying for open space that’s not even within our city limits,” said Valencia resident Jim Farley, 52. “It’s more going to benefit the residents outside the city.” Farley, a utility technician, is leading the opposition to the measure. SANTA CLARITA – Two years after rejecting a similar measure, property owners soon will vote on whether Santa Clarita should buy open space in and around the city. City Council members say it’s time to give the measure a second chance, after making changes to the proposal. “The intent is to acquire parcels where we possibly can, to create a buffer around this valley into perpetuity,” Councilman Bob Kellar said. The council voted 5-0 last week to put the open space measure to a public vote. If approved, the measure would tax property owners $25 a year for the next 30 years. last_img read more