May 14, 2015

Four Riverside County cities to get financial relief

BY JEFF HORSEMAN | The Press-Enterprise

Four cities in Riverside County hit hard by a Sacramento financial maneuver in 2011 could get relief in the revised state budget offered by Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday, May 14.

Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, Wildomar and Menifee lost up to $19 million in vehicle license fee revenue four years ago when state lawmakers reallocated the fees to law enforcement grants. As newer cities - they’ve all incorporated since 2008 - their budgets relied on vehicle license fees to a greater degree.

Not having the money has been a financial challenge for the cities. Jurupa Valley officials have warned their city might have to dissolve without some relief.

The governor’s plan, according to the office of Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, calls for the state to reduce the amount of money the county owes to Sacramento for Cal Fire services. The county would then forgive debt owed by the cities for police and fire protection.

Chuck Dalldorf, Roth’s chief of staff, compared the arrangement to parents paying off their kids’ credit card balances.

County Supervisor Marion Ashley, who represents Menifee, said the proposal will relieve the cities of a sizable financial burden.

“The governor reached out this time and gave us genuine help and support,” said Ashley, who also praised Roth.

The proposal needs legislative approval. State lawmakers have until June 15 to pass a new budget.

Roth, whose district includes Eastvale and Jurupa Valley, lauded the move.

“These cities, through no fault of their own, lost funding that every other new city historically received,” Roth said. “And I thank the governor for recognizing this critical issue of fairness and equity that threatened to force at least one city, Jurupa Valley, to disincorporate.”


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