Heights seeks assessment to pay for roads

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

The residents of La Habra Heights will be asked to vote on a benefit assessment district in November in an effort to help repair the roads within the city.
Supporting council members of the 3-2 vote at last Thursday’s council meeting said that they felt that the results released from a commissioned study indicates that a benefit assessment district is the best way to go.

Rough Road: The La Habra Heights City Council approved Thursday a benefit assessment to fund road repair to be on the November ballot.

“After looking at the results of the road funding survey, hearing from the professional consultants, and our citizen Roads Committee, it is my opinion that the residents will be most comfortable with the Benefit Assessment District approach for funding,” said Councilman Michael Higgins who voted for the assessment.
Councilmen Brian Bergmen and Kyle Miller also voted for the assessment, which will cost residents about $170 annually on their property tax bill.
Higgins added that based on the facts presented by the committee and the study, he believed the residents would be most comfortable with the Benefit Assessment District approach for funding. “Of all the choices the assessment option is the most familiar to the community,” he said.
The survey was conducted by Godbe Research, who were hired by the council as a consultation firm, and found that approximately two-thirds of voters supported assessment district while only less than half supported the utility users tax.
The utility tax, which was recommended by the Roads Committee, would have been a 3.5 percent utility users tax, which would cost residents approximately $20 per month
Mayor Jane Williams joined Francis in preferring the utility tax.
Roads Committee Chairman Dennis Laherty explained that he and the committee, can support either option, as long as the priority remains on road repair.
If approved by the voters in Novermber, the funding program will last 10 years with the goal to obtain a 75 PCI (pavement condition index) on the city’s roads. The index, which is between 0 and 100, is used by transportation civil engineering to indicate the general condition of pavement.
Higgins added that all of the fund will go to the roads, and that any and all contract and monies will be audited by the citizen roads committee.

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.