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Wildomar Gets Good News On 'Broken Promise'

“It’s a first step – a good first step.” -- Wildomar City Manager Frank Oviedo

A bill that would restore millions of dollars to new cities – including Wildomar -- crossed a hurdle Wednesday morning and is now moving forward.

California’s SB 1566 passed out of the state Senate Governance and Finance Committee with a 9-0 vote and is now headed to the state Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on April 24.

It would restore to the city an ongoing revenue stream derived from vehicle license fees.

For fiscal year 2012-13, the impact would be big: $1.8 million, according to Wildomar Assistant City Manager Gary Nordquist.

The news out of Sacramento was promising today, but Wildomar City Manager Frank Oviedo was cautiously optimistic.

“It’s a first step – a good first step,” he said, adding that the bill still has a long way to go.

However, Oviedo said Wednesday's unanimous vote shows bi-partisan support.

“Today was a very good sign,” he said.

Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries (R-Lake Elsinore) co-authored the legislation and said he is very pleased the bill received such strong bi-partisan support in its first hearing. 

“It gives me great hope that we can restore this critical funding to Wildomar and our other new cities in Riverside County,” he said.

Senator Bill Emmerson (R-Hemet) also represents Lake Elsinore. He along with Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino) introduced SB 1566 earlier this year.

“I’m pleased that SB 1566 received unanimous support at today’s hearing,” he said. “Last year the governor took away the funding source that newly incorporated cities count on for crucial services and this is an important first step toward fixing that broken promise.”

millions of dollars in vehicle license fees revenue that cities historically receive was instead placed into an account for law enforcement services.

California’s newest cities were hit especially hard by the legislation. When Wildomar incorporated in 2008, SB 89 was not on the radar.

For the young city, a $1.8 million hit is significant. In fiscal year 2008-09, the city’s general fund revenues totaled $9.5 million. General fund revenues for the 2012-13 fiscal year, which begins July 1, are projected at $6.6 million, according to Nordquist, who provided the figures during an April 17 budget workshop. The drop, Nordquist explained, was directly tied to the loss in vehicle license fees revenue.

Oviedo argued during the budget workshop that SB 89 “killed” new cityhood in California.

“It makes incorporation impossible. No one has the money,” he said.

Along with Wildomar, the new cities of Menifee, Jurupa Valley and Eastvale are also greatly impacted by the lost vehicle license fees revenue stream.

During Wednesday’s hearing in Sacramento, Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff and Jurupa Valley Mayor Laura Roughton spoke on behalf of the four new cities.

Pickles April 18, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Oh cool are they going to pave my private bumpy dirt road that I pat taxes for? Probably not
Ken Mayes April 19, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Key word there is private, besides its a lot easier to grade a dirt road than it is to patch a broken asphalt one.
Tonto April 20, 2012 at 02:44 AM
I can see the waste and fat raises now. More pension bennies :(
Martha L. Bridges April 20, 2012 at 10:42 AM
As the old adage says, none of the four new cities should "count their chickens before they hatch"...something the Wildomar council and staff seem inclined to do more often than not. True SB 1566 has been introduced and passed out of one committee, but there are serious questions about getting it passed, and even more questions about whether it will be challenged in the courts if it is passed. It may come down to a matter of perceived fairness. Can or should the State restore these VLF funds to the four new cities, but not to any or all of the others? The answer depends on your perspective. All the other cities who lost their VLF funds may find it hard to understand any special treatment for the few new cities. Besides, Wildomar was only supposed to enjoy the additional or special VLF funds for the five years after incorporation, and we are in the fourth year already. While it might be nice to have this short term influx of revenue, neither the city nor the citizens should think of it as a long term solution to Wildomar’s budget woes. Wildomar's premature incorporation was built on an overly optimistic outlook common to the boom times of the real estate bubble, and the revenue numbers in the CFA were always inflated to push cityhood through. The city must now deal with those facts and it’s drastically reduced revenues.
Ken Mayes April 20, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Another reason not to be overly elated is that this money is supposed to come out of an administration fund of one of the most powerful agencies in the state, the DMV. They will not openly oppose this bill but behind the scenes they will kill it. That being said we have 6.6 million dollars in general fund revenues and if spent wisely should be more than enough for this sleepy little hamlet. Its only when people get stupid and want to be what their not that things get ugly.

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