County asks tax officials to help residents affected by landfill 

Protestors gather in support of shutting down Chiquita Canyon Landfill on Thursday at Hasley Canyon Park. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Protestors gather in support of shutting down Chiquita Canyon Landfill on Thursday at Hasley Canyon Park. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
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The L.A. County Board of Supervisors signed off on a request from 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger for the county’s tax collector and assessor to see if there are ways to help residents who have been impacted by the monthslong stench at Chiquita Canyon Landfill. 

Barger’s motion, which was announced on the supplemental agenda Monday, asks the two offices to see there are ways their local ability to cancel penalties could benefit homeowners impacted by the landfill’s smells. 

“In addition, there may be options for homeowners to consider a temporary reduction of their property tax assessment through the Los Angeles County Assessor,” according to the motion. 

The motion passed unanimously on the consent calendar.  

The county’s Treasurer Tax-Collector’s Office must now report back in 13 days on the options available through existing tax codes to cancel property tax penalties for late property tax payments, Barger stated in a release sent Wednesday afternoon. 

“I empathize with property owners impacted by this incident, and my office is committed to exploring the options available to cancel penalties for late property tax payments,” Keith Knox, county Treasurer and Tax Collector, wrote in his statement in the release. 

County Assessor Jeff Prang issued a similar statement: 

“I look forward to working with Supervisor Barger and the treasurer and tax collector to ensure all possible property tax programs are made available to property owners,” he wrote Wednesday. 

Barger said she appreciated the support from her county colleagues. 

The landfill has plagued residents with its smells to the tune of thousands of complaints verified by the South Coast Air Quality Management District from residents of Val Verde, Live Oak, Hasley Canyon and beyond in recent months. The facility has been cited by the AQMD, the state Department of Toxic Substances Control and the federal Environmental Protection Agency in the past month for its air and water pollution problems. 

It’s also the subject of several lawsuits, and most recently, a call from Barger to state agencies asking them to revoke the landfill’s permits over what she described previously as leadership problems that have no end in sight. 

The landfill has repeatedly stated it’s working cooperatively with state agencies to address the problems as quickly as it can.  

A subsurface reaction has caused an elevated temperature event at the landfill producing excessive amounts of odorous landfill gases and leachate with chemicals the state considers toxic.  

“I appreciate the support of my fellow supervisors on this matter,” Barger said. “For months, the communities surrounding Chiquita Canyon Landfill have had to put up with awful odors that disrupt their comfort and health at home. The tax season is here, so I want to explore every option to bring my constituents relief.” 

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