Menifee councilmember hosts town hall meeting

Menifee City Councilman Greg August talks to residents during a town hall meeting he hosted Thursday, Sept. 26, at St. Vincent’s Catholic Church. Jeff Pack photo

Menifee District 1 City Councilman Greg August hosted a town hall meeting Thursday, Sept. 26, that included city officials as well as public safety representatives to discuss issues within the city.

August gave the residents updates on what the council is doing to stabilize and solidify the employment status and futures for city employees as well as city manager Armando Villa, who just recently received an extension.

“Armando has shown all promise the council and staff have hoped for,” August said. “Since Armando arrived 2 1/2 years ago or something like that, the staff has grown by 25 employees to the current total of 75. By July of next year with the addition of 132 police officers, Menifee’s total employment strength will reach 207.”

While celebrating the formation of the city’s new police force, August also thanked the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department for their many years of service to the area.

“One downside is that our city will lose the high quality, faithful and dedicated service of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in the bet,” August said. “One of the finest law enforcement agencies any city could ever want to have that for 12 years took great professional pride in keeping Menifee one of safest cities in the state of California.”

August talked about vehicle licensing fees and warned residents about ballot measures that could come up looking to strip those monies from going to the cities. He said the city could lose 30% of its general fund if they lose those fees.

August also discussed the city’s budget

“The reserve fund has grown by 40%,” he said. “General fund revenues increased by 13% while the city is growing at 8% to 10%, and that is subject to change. The balance of the city’s general fund, the fund where most of our city’s services are delivered from is approximately $60 million. Twice the amount from when I arrived on the city council.”

He also explained where that money is going.

“Millions of your tax dollars have been spent, are being spent and will be spent on resurfacing reconstruction and overlay projects like Rustlers Ranch, Phase 1 and 2, District 1. Several phases of repaving, the Sun City Rest Area, Patio Homes, Murrieta Road and many, many more high-cost public works and engineering projects in the district and throughout the city,” August said.

Villa took the podium and gave an update after showing a short video.

“I’m really proud of all the things that we’ve been able to do with Measure DD,” he said. “One of the most important is that medic patrol. You will agree that in this district we have a lot of call volume and our battalion chief would agree. Our plan and what I would like to do is I like to extend that to a second medic patrol for the future.”

Villa told the crowd the city is working with the current owners of Cherry Hill Golf Course, which has been closed to play.

“We have a very active case against them and we have levied some findings and they’re listening to us,” he said. “They are wanting to sell the golf course to another entity and we have met with that entity several times. One of things we keep telling them is that it’s going to very important for that new owner to plug the community in that decision.”

Menifee Economic Development Director Gina Gonzalez gave an update on what’s coming down the pipeline as far as retail and commercial developments in the city.

“I will share with you right now, currently we do have 155 development projects working its way through the city,” she said. “Of those, 27 are commercial projects. So, that equates to 1.2 million square feet of commercial property. Just about 571,000 square feet is in plan review. Over 600,000 is in construction, 1.3 million square feet of industrial property is in the pipeline.”

Representatives from Cal Fire, Riverside County Fire Department and Riverside County Sheriff’s Department also gave updates and addressed concerns from citizens during a question and answer session.

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