Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

Stormwater parcel tax sent back to LA County public works for overhaul

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A controversial plan to tax property owners for stormwater cleanup will not come up for a vote this year. On Tuesday, L.A. County Supervisors sent it back to the drawing board.

Beaches in L.A. County are often badly polluted after a storm, because the rain carries oil, trash and chemicals into storm drains. Public Works officials developed a plan -- called Clean Water, Clean Beaches -- to capture, control and treat rainfall before it reaches the drains. Public Works suggested that this could be paid for with a roughly $50 annual fee on property owners. The supervisors would first need to have property owners approve the idea in a mail-in vote.

But the supervisors didn’t like the idea when they first heard about it back in January: they criticized it as confusing and poorly structured. Public works officials made some changes to the program, but not enough to satisfy critics, including more than a hundred thousand property owners who filed protests against the tax proposal.

County supervisors have now told public works officials to overhaul the program. The new idea is to put a reworked stormwater tax in front of voters in June or November of next year.

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