Council awards contract, offers incentive, donates funds

City council concluded the conversation on mobile home park politics at their Tuesday meeting after six months of back-and-forth between city staff, park owners and residents.

The council awarded a maximum $25,000 a year contract for an administrative hearing officer to replace the five-person panel that previously sorted out rent increase appeals for mobile home parks.

“I appreciate having a professional firm within our jurisdictional radius,” Councilwoman Laurene Weste said.

Contracting a hearing officer was an effort to eliminate any bias from the appeals process in favor of either park owners or residents.

The pay rate for the attorney was estimated based on numbers from 2016, multiplying 12 hours per hearing for six hearings last year.

The attorney the city selected among applicants has professional experience in manufactured home rent control.

Prior to the officer being hired, the volunteer panel was comprised of two residents, two park owners and an impartial fifth member.

Council members expressed some concern with the $285 per hour travel fee from the law firm and decided to negotiate it later.

Combatting illegal fireworks

As an incentive to report illegal fireworks, the council approved a $500 reward for anyone who notifies law enforcement about someone using fireworks that leads to a citation.

“It needs to stop,” Councilwoman Marsha McLean said regarding firework use.

On July 4, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Department responded to 116 calls for fireworks.

Leading up to the holiday, the city, Los Angeles County and law enforcement officials held campaigns and led a press conference to warn against the use of any fireworks, all of which are illegal in the city and county.

“Anything we can use as a tool in order to mitigate the use of fireworks is beneficial to us,” Captain Robert Lewis said about the reward. “This is one tool among many that can be used.”

Funding projects on Golden Valley Road

Santa Clarita will donate an additional $500,000 toward the new Senior Center on Golden Valley Road, which will break ground on Wednesday.

At the start of the campaign for the new center, the city contributed $3 million. The Santa Clarita Valley Committee on Aging requested the added funds to round out the project.

“I’m very supportive of our seniors and what this does in the 21st century,” Weste said.

Additionally, Weste asked if there were other ways the city could promote fundraising for the new center.

The new Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station had its design contract approved by the council for $3,149,000.

The current station on Magic Mountain Parkway will be replaced by the new one on Golden Valley Road.

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