The municipal election for the Riverside County area will be held on June 7.
Three southwest Riverside County cities will vote in the June election including Menifee, Wildomar, and Canyon Lake.
There are three measures on the ballot.
Wildomar residents will have the opportunity to vote on Measure “D.” The action in which this proposed new law will take has been a hotly-debated topic in the community since its inception.
Measure “D” will levy a $28 per year parcel tax. The tax would support the city’s three parks. It is said to cost about $200,000 per year to maintain the parks.
The City Council of Wildomar is in favor of Measure “D.”
Measure “D” was said to be designed as a way to restore funding and provide for program enhancement for parks in Wildomar.
The city currently does not have a program established to collect funding for the parks.
Wildomar hopes Measure “D” will help form a Community Facilities District similar to the ones Murrieta and Temecula have created.
The City Council voted on March 7 to put the matter of the Community Facilities District and levy of a maximum special tax of $28 a year per parcel on the June ballot. This maximum is not subject to change at the discretion of the City. It is only subject to annual adjustment based on inflation.
“Parks provide many benefits to local communities including venues for organized sports and other programs for residents of all ages, as well as safe places for children to play,” read a statement on an official sample election ballot. “Local parks enhance local property values as well.”
Bryan Underdown, 19, has lived in Wildomar his whole life. He has fond memories of growing up with access to one of the city’s popular parks.
“One of my memories as a child is playing tee ball baseball at Marna O’Brien Park when I was 5 and 6 years old but then they closed the parks down in 1999,” Underdown wrote in a letter to the Valley News. “Kids were left with no parks in Wildomar. The only parks that I remember were in another city or at an elementary school. Why would anyone want to do that again?”
Underdown wonders whether or not it is possible for his fellow residents to afford the yearly tax that Measure “D” would impose on property owners.
“I can understand that some people can’t afford it because of a fixed income but what I don’t understand is that it is only $28 a year which is about two dollars a month,” he said. “You can probably get two dollars a month by collecting your change or turning in your recycling.”
He encourages everyone to think about voting in favor of Measure “D.”
“Think about all the teenagers that hang out at the park,” he said. “If the parks close, then they will have to find somewhere else to hang out and maybe find different activities to do that are not good for our community. Think about the hundreds of little league kids that practice at the parks. Where will they practice? Because without the parks, I am sure that things in Wildomar will be different.”
The sample ballot included a message from Wildomar resident Steve Beutz, who runs StopTheMoneyGrab.com, a local political advocacy website.
“And despite the City Council’s call for higher taxes, the good people of Wildomar already pay enough in taxes to keep our three modest public parks open,” said Beutz.
“The 2010-2011 Wildomar budget began, and is projected to end the fiscal year with an approximate $1.3 million dollar cash surplus representing a 14 percent general fund reserve. And on top of that, the City also has an investment portfolio of over $1.5 million dollars representing another 16 percent of general fund expenditures. Combined, these revenues constitute a surplus of over 30 percent of general fund expenditures the city has in reserve.”
Canyon Lake will have Measure “E” on the ballot on June 7.
The measure will levy a $204 per year parcel tax on improved parcels and a $96 per year parcel tax on unimproved parcels. The tax would first be assessed on property tax bills for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. The tax would last for five years. The purpose of the proposed parcel tax is to fund police and fire services.
An argument in favor of the measure made by Larry Greene, a Canyon Lake resident and retired assistant fire chief of Fullerton, said, “Between the state of California raiding our city’s budget and the economy slashing the city’s revenues, the City of Canyon Lake has been drawing from its reserve funds to maintain a high level of public safety services that have made Canyon Lake the safest city in the county.”
Greene sited several examples of recession-influenced affects on Canyon Lake, and how its budget will dwindle if this measure is not implemented.
“It raises $960,000 in revenue to continue to pay for local public safety services,” he said. “These are funds that the legislators in Sacramento can never touch and the city must keep the proceeds ofthe tax in a special account used only for public services.”
If the city uses up its reserves, it could be forced to close one of its fire stations, he said.
Tim Brown, a Canyon Lake resident, opposes the new tax measure.
“Will revenues only fund police and fire protection?” he asked. “Public services accounts could be tapped for virtually anything. Do you really trust politicians to cut taxes after five years? During hearings, councilmen expressed concern the tax amount and duration was insufficient. Passing this measure will open a floodgate of other tax requests in the future. Costs for contacting police and fire protection will likely continue to increase at alarming rates. Proponents claim Measure ‘E’ is ‘equitable.'”
The last measure on the June 7 ballot is for residents of Menifee to decide whether or not they want a Walmart Supercenter to be built at the corner of Scott and Haun roads.
“In these tough economic times, Menifee’s hardworking families have expressed their desire to bring more affordable groceries and expanded retail choices to our city,” according to a statement read from the sample ballot argument in favor of the measure.
The measure is intended to create around 300 quality, permanent jobs with benefits available to both part-time and full-time employees, once eligible; create hundreds of temporary construction jobs; provide approximately $3.8 million in traffic improvements and other developer fees to the city; offer one-stop shopping for hardworking Menifee families who want the best value for their dollar; provide affordable fresh groceries; and keep jobs and tax revenues in town rather than sending them to neighboring communities.
Jeanne Murray of Menifee expressed her concern on the Menifee 24/7 Facebook site for the city getting a Walmart.
“I’m also concerned that the official voter pamphlet has no ‘against’ argument printed to accompany the ‘for’ argument,” she wrote.
Other residents expressed their opinions on the matter.
Teri McLaughlin said, “No Walmart in Menifee. They are trying to sneak there way in. No, no, no! We already have two Super Targets like two miles apart. Put a Sam’s Club instead. I dislike Walmart. The employees are rude and the stores are always dirty.”
Sam’s Club is a division of Walmart Stores, Inc.
“We need a Walmart and I answered a phone survey regarding this matter,” said Shelly Marie Moore-Eickhoff. “Get rid of one of the Target stores.”