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Sewer decision due soon

September 24, 2009|By Carol Cormaci

The countdown is on for owners of 680 La Cañada Flintridge properties in three proposed sewer project areas who must decide by early next month whether or not they want to form a single assessment district to pay for a $40 million, low-pressure sewer system.

Although traditional gravity systems have been installed successfully throughout the first three sewer assessment districts in the northern half of the city, such a project was deemed prohibitively costly due to the rocky terrain in the regions below Foothill. This prompted the city to propose a less expensive alternative.

Sixty-three percent of homeowners living in the districts 5A, 6E and 6J who participated in an earlier vote indicated they wanted the city to gather engineering reports that would provide estimated annual assessments per lot for the low-pressure system. District 5A includes homes south of Berkshire Avenue; 6E and 6J are both west of the 2 (Glendale) Freeway and south of Foothill Boulevard. If the voters approve, those three districts will together form Sewer Assessment District No. 09-1.

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The city ordered the final reports, and ballots detailing the resulting proposed assessment costs were mailed to property owners Aug. 21. They are due in City Hall by the end of a public hearing set for 7 p.m. Oct. 5.

The assessments will range from $40,145.39 to $72,923.63, depending upon the location, size of the lot and length of its street-front footage, according to a city report. Property owners will have the option to pay the entire assessment up front — and receive a discount of 5-15% — or spread the payments out over 20-30 years on their property taxes, with the lowest estimated annual payment in 5A and 6E ranging from $2,983.97 to $3,598.49 and the lowest in 6J ranging from $3,095.30 to $3,732.98.

On the high end, the larger properties in 5A and 6E will be assessed $5,284.52 to $6,377.63 annually; those in the highest category of 6J will see annual assessments ranging from $5,395.85 to $6,512.12.

Because a low-pressure system requires the installation of a grinder pump on each property, the homeowners will also be facing an annual charge of $300 to $500, separate from the assessment, for operation, maintenance and replacement costs the city will oversee. The city will also be granted a maintenance easement so necessary repairs can be achieved on the individual properties.

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