Residents of the Hillcrest housing track in Castaic are still awaiting the next step in their push to “Keep Hillcrest Green.”
Hillcrest residents should expect to see mail-in ballots in mid- to late-May this year, with a public hearing occurring set for July, according to county officials.
“We didn’t want to go too early, with the holidays coming,” Lee said, explaining the latest delay in bringing a vote on landscaping fees to Castaic’s Hillcrest residents. The county began a discussion for the region’s landscaping last summer and made it to the point of soliciting bids from landscapers before that vote was scrapped over the winter and the bidding reset.
County officials originally planned to send out ballots to the community in November 2017, but the county decided to hold off on letting the voters decide on the best quote, as there were questions regarding the wording of the bid that was given out, according to Kerjon Lee, strategic communications manager with Los Angeles County Public Works.
The Facebook group “Keep Hillcrest Green” was set up to advocate for raising the landscape maintenance fee in order to improve the upkeep of the area. County officials have said an increase in the area’s landscape maintenance fee is necessary in order to provide an increased level of service.
Hillcrest residents currently pay about $240 a year, which was a rate set back in 1990; however, county officials estimated an annual fee more inline with what the costs are for the upkeep would put the fee for residents at about $585, based on an average of contracts that bid for the work during the bidding effort that took place last year.
Residents have twice rejected an increase in the fees on previous Proposition 218 votes county officials have tried to hold.
The ongoing struggle from residents who want to pay more for more service began in 2007, when a vote to increase the cost first was voted down by the community. A second attempt was unsuccessful in 2014.
The most recent conversation started up again last July, with residents meeting with Public Works engineers in August to talk about the future of the landscaping in the area, called Landscape Maintenance District 37.