Streetscape Upkeep Met with ‘No’ Votes

By Gary Meyer

The September 15 vote by Frazier Park property owners against formation of County Service Area (CSA) 100 to maintain the improvements in the downtown area has left Kern County in a fix.

According to Kern County Roads Department Managing Engineer Mark Evans, property owners adjacent to the project had indicated to Supervisor Ray Watson, before the work was done, that they would agree to participate in CSA-100 and be taxed for maintenance of the improvements, most of which were completed late last year.

But when formation of CSA-100 actually came to a vote, the property owners voted it down, leaving no funding for maintenance of the new sidewalks, lights, landscaping and fixtures.

According to Evans, “There were a total of 33 properties voting on two separate items: the maintenance and costs associated with the landscaping, and the costs/maintenance associated with the Street Lighting.” Passage of CSA-100 requires a simple majority of the ballots cast.

The landscaping issue was voted down 17 to 6. The lighting issue lost 14 to 9.

According to Matt Frye of Kern County’s Engineering and Survey Services Department, conducting another vote would take about two years, including petitioning property owners again to see if they are willing to pay, asking the Board of Supervisors for approval to go back to the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) for approval and then waiting for LAFCO to complete approval for creating the CSA.

Evans wrote in an email to The Mountain Enterprise, “The fact that CSA-100 did not pass could have a devastating effect on the Frazier Park Streetscape project. There is a 3-month maintenance agreement built into our construction contract with Antioch Landscaping, but that is where it ends.

“Since the CSA did not pass, there is no long term maintenance plan (or funding) established for the [Frazier Park] Streetscape project. Supervisor Ray Watson is working on a long-term solution for the Streetscape management and funding,” Evans said.

This is part of the September 25, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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