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Election 2012: California counties to vote on vehicle abatement
By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor

Voters in counties in central and northern California will decide in about three weeks whether to renew fees to cover abandoned vehicle abatement programs.

In Butte County, ballots throughout the county will ask voters about the program, which charges $1 for personal vehicles and $2 for large trucks to help pay to remove and dispose of abandoned and wrecked vehicles from public and private property.

Vehicle owners in the county of nearly one-quarter of a million people have been responsible for the abatement fee since 2003. Since then, the county estimates that about 5,600 vehicles have been removed.

Measure H on the countywide ballot asks voters to continue covering the costs involved for 10 more years.

On the northern coast, ballots in Mendocino County will include the same question. Measure G would authorize the program to continue for 10 more years.

The program involves charging a $1 fee for each personal vehicle in the county. For large trucks, the fee is $2 per vehicle. The fee is added to license renewal costs.

In nearby Calaveras County, voters will decide whether to renew the 21-year-old program for another decade. Measure B on the countywide ballot would maintain the program fee.

About $60,000 in annual revenue comes from the fee. The money is used to cover the county’s costs in removing and disposing of abandoned and wrecked vehicles in public rights-of-way, other public lands and private property.

Supporters say the fee has paid for removing about 300 vehicles annually around the county. In addition, multiple large dump sites have been removed.

A two-thirds vote margin is needed to pass the measure.

In neighboring Amador County, voters will also cast ballots that include a question about continuing the abatement program. Measure U would authorize the $1 personal vehicle and $2 commercial vehicle fees for 10 more years.

For more 2012 election coverage from Land Line, click here.

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