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LOS ANGELES-A county supervisor here has asked government lawyers to determine whether the city would have to reimburse San Fernando Valley residents for the taxes they paid to erect government buildings that would remain in the city’s control even if the Valley secedes.

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky made the request in a letter that was sent to the county’s lawyers and simultaneously made available to the news media. The buildings range from offices that house local government workers to libraries and schools.

Proponents of Valley secession hope to get a measure on the ballot next year that would allow them to break away from LA and form their own city. Because the buildings were erected with tax dollars from all county residents but would remain the property of the city of Los Angeles even if secession is approved, Yaroslavsky wants to know whether Valley residents would be entitled to a tax refund or some other form of compensation for the property that LA would keep.

Hundreds of millions of dollars may be at stake. If the city must indeed make some form of payment for the buildings to Valley residents, it would also likely be required to pay for government structures in other local communities that are trying to secede – including Hollywood, San Pedro, Wilmington and Harbor City.

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