LAFCO restates its opposition to water district bill

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Commissioners mandated to rule on annexations and mergers in Los Angeles County voted unanimously Wednesday to oppose a senate bill calling for one all-encompassing water district until it is amended to include them.

The commissioners that make up the Los Angeles Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) met Wednesday only to reiterate and reaffirm the position it took last month.

“It was a confirmation of what we had already decided,” LAFCO Executive Officer Paul A. Novak told The Signal Thursday.

When LAFCO commissioners met last month to discuss merger legislation spelled out in Senator Scott Wilk’s Senate Bill 634, members of the agency voted to oppose the bill unless it was amended to include them.

And, if ratepayers in the SCV are wondering what difference it makes to have the deal closed by state legislation or by LAFCO, Executive Officer Paul A. Novak of LAFCO said his group offers accessibility.

“L.A. LAFCO’s consideration of this consolidation would afford Santa Clarita residents an opportunity to attend a hearing in Los Angeles – as opposed to Sacramento – and testify before the local elected officials who sit as LAFCO commissioners,” he said.

“It would enable the public to suggest terms and conditions which LAFCO could impose on a proposed consolidation,” Novak said.

On Thursday, the commissioners sent a resounding message to bill handlers that they remain resolute on the issue of LAFCO’s participation in the formation of a special district.

It is LAFCO’s job, in part, to oversee changes to local government boundaries that involve the formation and expansion of cities and special districts, as well as the merger of special districts.

Alan Cameron, a resident of the Santa Clarita Valley, was one of three local people to speak to the assembly of commissioners.

“I wanted LAFCO to be an integral part of what is happening with SB634,” he told The Signal after the meeting.

“I told them that an election needed to be held to validate the bill,” he said.

As Senator Wilk and water heads Stone and Cole have pointed out repeatedly in public discussion about the proposed new district – the Santa Clarita Valley Water District – the bill describing it remains a work in progress and is still being fleshed out.

“The creation of the new district requires legislation regardless of the role LAFCO plays,” Cole said Monday. “This is due to the fact that CLWA is a Special Act Agency which was originally created by the legislature.”

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