Murrieta Fire & Rescue receives a $2M grant to use in ‘whatever they need’

Mayor Gene Wunderlich discusses the grant being awarded to the Murrieta Fire & Rescue for $2 million. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Staff and council members met to discuss several items at the Murrieta City Council meeting Tuesday, Sept. 15, which is still being held virtually due to COVID-19.

On Sept. 9, the Murrieta Senior Center turned 15; the city wished them many more happy years of helping older adults and thanked them for being a great resource for the community.

Council member Christi White presented Sept. 9, as part of the Riverside County Habitat Conservation Agency team, to the California Natural Resources Agency on a grant application related to a new project called the Steele Peak Inaugural Trail, which will be located in Perris. The project will be similar to the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve for that area, she said.

On Sept. 11, Assembly Bill 1945 was signed into law effective Jan. 1, 2021; emergency public safety dispatchers in California will change from clerical administrators to a designation of first responders.

“This is a victory for these critically important professionals,” White said.

Mayor Gene Wunderlich reminded citizens that if they have not yet filled out the California census, to do so, as it’s due at the end of this month.

“I know there are people knocking on doors right now trying to get this done,” Wunderlich said. “It’s very critical to our area that we get this done in a timely and comprehensive manner because it does translate directly to, not only money for services to the city, but representation of the state and federal level as well.”

Citizens are encouraged to go to to fill out the form.

The city of Murrieta was awarded a $2 million Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant, Sept. 15, for Murrieta Fire & Rescue.

“According to Chief Lantzer, that is one of the most difficult grants to obtain, and yet our city was able to do that. It can be used for any purpose whatsoever, including equipment and staff, whatever they need,” Wunderlich said, adding his congratulations.

Wunderlich said that the biggest thing the grant does is help them continue to add to their emergency services.

“That was one of the areas that was kind of held up during COVID-19, as we had to take a hard look at our budget,” Wunderlich said. “That will allow us to increase response and reduce response time actually and get our to our residents in a more timely manner with more focus service so we’re very proud of that.”

The meeting was adjourned in memory of Murrieta police detective Sean Waterman, who battled cancer and died Sept. 8.

“Detective Waterman started his law enforcement career in 1999 with the San Diego Police Department; joined the Murrieta Police Department in 2007,” Wunderlich said. “Throughout his career Sean worked as a canine handler, SWAT officer, range master, honor guard and detective.

“Sean courageously served our country, our community and our Murrieta Police Department for over 30 years. He is greatly missed,” he said.

For more information on the agenda items, visit

Lexington Howe can be reached by email at