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Strife Over Open Space

Mayor finds engineer's report unclear.

Two weeks ago, the Santa Clarita City Council voted to garner an engineer’s report, to initiate the process of putting forth a ballot to add an assessment of $25 per year to property tax for the purchase of open space.


Proponents of the idea say that buying open space in and around Santa Clarita will preserve a greenbelt around the town, and ensure that overdevelopment does not occur.


Opponents proclaimed that it was just a clever way of avoiding the 2/3 vote needed for a tax increase.


Most of the Council was ready to vote yes on the initiative to push the process forward, green lighting the ballots to be sent out.


Mayor Marsha McLean called into question something in the engineer’s report that was to be approved, that made her believe that a $1 per year increase would be set in stone if they approved it.


She was obviously frustrated, and at first said she would vote no on the item unless the dollar increase was taken out of the literature for now, to be discussed at a later date.


Mayor McLean expressed her unhappiness because she didn’t want her no vote to look like she opposed preserving open space.


City staff and the City Attorney then explained to her that the $1 increase is the maximum increase per year that the assessment could reach, but it would have to be voted upon by the Council each year.   


Happy with the explanation, McLean voted yes on the item, as did the rest of the City Council.


She did say that the engineer's report was hard to understand, and she wished it would have been available on the internet prior to the meeting.


City staff has been directed to put that report on the City’s website.