A group of neighbors Wednesday evening were informed of a possible 1000% increase to their landscaping fees should they and their neighbors vote to do so.
The neighbors, who reside in a community called Sunset Pointe in Stevenson Ranch, just off The Old Road, have had certain aspects of the 269 parcel area landscaping, such as tree trimming, brush clearance and irrigation management, maintained by the L.A. County Department of Public Works since 1986.
However, since 2007-08 the rate for these services has held at $750 without a Consumer Price Index adjustment. The newly proposed rate would include new factors as well as an inflation adjustment and would approximately run around $7,965, and would be adjusted based on acreage, multi-family/single family, undeveloped, etc.
The rise in funds, officials said during the meeting, is due to a “cost of living increase, wage increase and new regulation in chemical use for weeding control.”
In total, the adjustments which include contractor costs, utilities and projects replacing the aging irrigation equipment, drainage system and foliage — based on the 2022-23 adjustments — would cost a total of roughly $2,480,877 a year, or $7,965 per customer.
Dozens of residents voiced their concern and frustration during the meeting, saying that they had little to no advanced warning of the rate increase or the Wednesday night meeting, were confused as to why there would be such a substantial increase and called this “decades of mismanagement” by the Public Works Department.
In response, Amir Ibrahim, a principal engineer and Landscape Maintenance District supervisor, explained that the Department had posted notices of the meeting in The Signal newspaper, and walked those in attendance through the numbers and finances he could provide via a powerpoint presentation.
In accordance with Proposition 218, ballots will now be mailed to all affected property owners, Ibrahim said, and residents will have the ability to vote yes or no to the rate increase.
“If the voting majority vote for the assessment increase, the Board will adopt the proposed assessments,” reads the Public Works presentation. “Changes to assessments will be effective Fiscal Tax Year 2022-23 on your property tax bill.”
If the residents vote no, according to the presentation, the following will happen:
- Continue reduced services until detachment on July 1, 2023
- Homeowners may need to build their own irrigation lines
- Homeowners will assume maintenance responsibility for all vacated (Landscape Maintenance District) areas, including paying for utility usage
Once the ballots are mailed out, a public hearing will be scheduled within a minimum of 45 days and the tabulated results will be disclosed.