City Council Looks to Set Public Hearing for Maintenance District

Public Input Sought

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South Pasadena City Council members will be considering a date this week for a public hearing to consider increasing a fee for the Lighting and Landscaping Maintenance District.

The City of South Pasadena is able to maintain medians, streetlights, parks and other amenities with a fee that is charged to property owners. “It creates a Lighting and Landscape Maintenance District which generates about $900,000 per year,” explained South Pasadena City Manager Sergio Gonzalez. “However, because we haven’t had a cost of living increase or consumer price index adjustment in the fee, not enough money is generated and the city’s general fund has had to subsidize it to the tune of about $200,000 annually,” explained Gonzalez. “The goal is to educate the public about the need to bring enough revenues to adequately maintain our trees, landscaping and lighting throughout the city.”

Consideration will come from the council to set the public hearing and to let property owners it wants to increase the rate. “Property owners would then have an opportunity to send in their ballots, indicating if they are for or against the increase,” added Gonzalez, noting that it would be “very modest increase.”

The city manager said property owners currently pay between $71 – $104. He said the proposed increase is about $9 per month per parcel.

Gonzalez stressed that the city needs to increase the fee because “the District right now does not have enough to cover all the costs,” he said. “The area that suffers the most is the installation and maintenance of our urban forest.”

Meanwhile, community members are invited to a presentation on the City of South Pasadena’s urban forest, street lighting, traffic signals and median landscaping. South Pasadena is in the process of updating its Lighting and Landscape Maintenance District which funds the operation and maintenance of all these items.

South Pasadena is proud to be a part of Tree City USA, an Arbor Day Foundation program recognizing cities that support a healthy tree canopy. The benefits of a robust urban forest include cleaner air, improved storm water management, energy savings, increased property values, and commercial activity. Many of South Pasadena’s trees are in the later stages of their life cycle which requires more pruning, removal, and eventually replacement. While the maintenance cost has risen, the assessment rate has not changed since 1996.

The community meeting will be held on Thursday, August 25, at 6:30 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers, 1424 Mission Street.

The meeting will provide information on the function of the District, and the proposed assessment updates. Residents will learn about the assessment update and to provide input before the report is presented to the City Council for further consideration.

The Landscaping and Lighting District Act is a flexible tool used by local government agencies to form landscaping and lighting Districts for the purpose of financing the costs and expenses of operating and maintaining and servicing landscaping and lighting improvements.

A city report contributed to this story.

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