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By Jim Shilander
San Clemente property owners have narrowly approved the renewal of the city’s Clean Ocean Fee.
City Clerk Joanne Baade sent results out Thursday indicating that a majority of the property owners who returned ballots actually rejected the renewal, by a vote of 5,709 to 6,094. However, because the value of the votes of timeshare units are calculated at a value of 1/50 of a vote, the result of the vote flipped, with 5,005.36 votes (the fraction comes from the value of a single timeshare vote being worth .02 votes) to 4,436.68. The mail ballots, which were sent out to the city’s property owners in October, had to be returned to the city by December 10. Just under 43 percent of ballots were returned.
The vote approves the first fee increase in the program’s history. The fee pays for ongoing city efforts to reduce the effects of urban runoff, including operations of the treatment system located near Poche Beach, as well as ongoing street sweeping, catch basin cleaning and other activities. The fund also supports efforts of other city departments to reduce runoff and increase water conservation. For single family residences on public streets, the fee increase will rise to $6.23 from $5.02. Residents on private streets will pay less due to not having streets cleaned. Commercial properties, industrial and business park properties pay at a higher rate.
The fee will not have to be renewed again for another six years.