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L.A. Official Objects to Trash Fee Proposal

Los Angeles’ chief city financial officer has thrown cold water on a proposal by San Fernando Valley Councilman Howard Finn to impose a fee on residents who send their trash to other neighborhoods.

In proposing the “not in my backyard” fee in March, Finn, whose northeast Valley district contains most of the city’s garbage dumps, reasoned that people should be compensated for the bad odor, heavy truck traffic and other discomforts resulting from living near a landfill. He proposed that residents near landfills be exempt from paying an unspecified fee that would be assessed on everyone else in the city.

City Administrative Officer Keith Comrie, however, said Finn’s proposal may not only be unfair, but illegal also.

“Undesirable land uses encompass more than waste management facilities,” Comrie said in a report last week to the City Council’s Public Works Committee. The committee will consider the issue later this month.

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“Many people consider airports, freeways, industrial complexes, railroads, schools and shopping centers undesirable” when located near residences, he said.

“Citizens not impacted by waste-management operations but near other intrusive facilities might properly object to a fee for the former without compensation for the latter,” he said.

Comrie also said the city attorney’s office had advised that a fee not intended to recover the cost of a service may violate the provisions of Proposition 13, the 1978 tax limitation law.

Finn could not be reached for comment.

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