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Novel Fee Sought to Clean Bay

Times City-County Bureau Chief

A new financing plan, charging fees to homeowners and businesses for their pollution, was proposed by Los Angeles city officials Tuesday to clean up one of the worst sources of Santa Monica Bay contamination--runoff from streets, sidewalks, parking lots and other paved and built-over areas.

The plan was developed by city public works officials and aides to Mayor Tom Bradley and Assemblyman Tom Hayden (D-Santa Monica).

Runoff of rain and other water polluted by street, motor vehicle and animal waste and other urban grime is one of the two biggest polluters of Santa Monica Bay. The other is sewage treated at the city’s Hyperion plant. The quality of that plant’s treatment, under a court order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has improved sharply recently.

Under the runoff treatment financing plan, special taxing districts would be created by the City Council, in which property owners would be assessed to finance new facilities to clean up the filthy water before it hits the bay.

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The special taxing areas, called benefit assessment districts, have been used for years to put up street lighting and make other civic improvements. They do not require votes by affected property owners.

What is unique about this plan, city officials said, is that the taxes would be levied according to the amount of asphalt or concrete, or buildings, on a property. Such covering prevents storm water from percolating into the soil.


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