Castaic Residents Get Information On Annexation
About 60 people turned out for an informational meeting for residents of Castaic, Tesoro and West Ranch Thursday night at Castaic Middle School to discuss the feasibility of all three options for governance.
Since early this year, the residents of the area have been pondering a change in their administration, weighing services and costs, and the ramifications of either becoming part of the City of Santa Clarita or incorporating into its own city.
Thursday's meeting was a duplicate of one held Monday night in Stevenson Ranch, where a study commissioned by the City dissected the feasibility of annexation was added to the information packages given to those casting an advisory vote on the issue November 3.
What set Thursday's meeting apart was the low attendance - less than half of those participating in a meeting where incorporation studies were distributed earlier in the summer.
In addition, most of the questions posed to consultants after their initial presentation came from employees of Los Angeles County, who queried them about parking, code enforcement and park standards.
Castaic residents are still wary of losing their rural lifestyle and pretty much everyone was concerned about having local representation if the areas were to be annexed into the city of Santa Clarita or incorporating into their own city. At one point, a Castaic school board candidate said that residents in the area have a representative at the County who takes care of their concerns, but that people were unsure what kind of representation they would have if they annexed or incorporated.
Santa Clarita Deputy City Manager Darren Hernandez pointed out that there are five local council members protecting the interests of the residents, instead of one supervisor covering a large area. Issues of the placing of a recycling or materials recovery facility in Castaic (which some stated had been done) or siting a big box store such as Walmart seemed to be important as well.
The consultants offered several statistics; if all three areas were to be added to the city, it would increase the population by 45,000 (and 7,800 inmates), and add 16,000 jobs. Monetarily, leaving things status quo would cost nothing. Annexation would cost the residents "alimony" or a severance of the property tax income that would taper off after seven years and incorporation would be, in the words of the consultant, "complex, costly and time-consuming," referring to the amount of time the process takes to process through the Local Agency Formation Committee.
The advisory vote on governance is coming up November 3. A community forum on the issue where representation from the county, city and various town councils will take questions is scheduled from 6:30 to 8, Thursday, October 8 at Santa Clarita City Hall. For more details, go to hometownstation.com.