Open-space assessment opposed

first_imgSANTA CLARITA – A Valencia resident who’s fed up with the city’s new push for an open-space measure and its property tax bite hopes to galvanize grass-roots opposition to the proposal. Jim Farley’s not against shrub-adorned hills instead of houses chockablock – he just wonders whether city residents should be saddled with the cost of buying them. “I’m against setting the precedent of a property tax assessment,” Farley said. “My concern is, once we set the precedent with this, even though it’s only $25 (a year), it opens the door for every other issue that’s `too important.”‘ On the heels of a failed November 2005 initiative to fund a park and open-space measure, the Santa Clarita City Council last week approved plans to pursue an undeveloped land preservation district. “(If they’re) only taxing people within the city, taxpayers in the city will be paying for something that benefits folks in the unincorporated areas,” he said. The Gas Co. technician says he’s never been politically active before but this issue vexes him, so he’s set up an e-mail address to organize an opposition voice. Should he attract a following, Farley has offered to provide an opposing argument on the ballot materials. The council is due to receive the engineer’s report April 24, and ballots could be sent out around May 25. Voters would have 45 days to return them. Farley can be reached at [email protected] [email protected] (661) 257-5255160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The particulars will be spelled out after an engineer’s report is done, but guidelines call for a $25-a-year assessment for each single-family home, a limit of $1 a year in adjustments, a term of 30 years and a focus on buying and conserving undeveloped land. Parkland may or may not be included. In November, the council approved $100,000 to fund consultants and the engineer’s report, but the city is prohibited from advocating for the measure. A citizen committee has raised funds for an ad campaign – consultant Scott Wilk declined to disclose how much – and should open its campaign headquarters in about 10 days. Mailings and a door-to-door effort will begin after the council approves the engineer’s report, Wilk said. Farley, a self-described conservative Republican, objects to what he calls the “slick marketing campaign” attached to the earlier measure, saying it was unfair to present a one-sided, pro argument only. A benefits assessment will be part of the report, but Farley wonders in advance about fairness, especially if the land buys are outside city limits. last_img