Mayor Marsha Swanson presented the city of Wildomar’s State of the City address Wednesday, Oct. 30, at the Wildomar Elks Lodge 2591.
After a VIP reception featuring sample food and drinks from some of Wildomar’s restaurants, Swanson was introduced to the podium and was danced up to the microphone by city council members all dressed in the evening’s sock hop theme.
“Wow, with a start like that,” Swanson said. “First of all, I want to thank everyone for coming tonight.”
After showing a video laying out all the progress the city has made in the past 11 years, Swanson thanked the many dignitaries in the audience, and the city council members and staff on hand.
“We instituted a 1% sales tax this year,” Swanson said. “59% percent of the voters voted in favor of it. I heard a lot of people say why should we tax ourselves; we’re not getting the benefit. But we’re getting a huge benefit. It’s not just you paying; everybody that buys gas in Wildomar, everybody who shops, they come down from La Cresta and shop. Bear Creek shops here; they go to Barons. So, that’s really helping us.”
She praised the council and staff for their ability to work together and stick to goals.
“That’s what makes Wildomar, Wildomar,” Swanson said. “We’re a community; we’re not just a city.”
Swanson talked about early struggles the city had in getting started, including losing access to vehicle license fee revenues that wiped out 25% of the city’s budget revenue about seven years ago.
“The cities around us, even though they were newer cities, they had reserves, they had money,” Swanson said. “We started out with zero. The county gave us a little, yes.
“Yes, it’s been a rough 10 years, it really has. But we are moving on up,” she said.
These days, the city can expect $2.7 million from vehicle license fee revenues and $2.4 million in sales tax monies from Measure AA which adds 16% to the general fund.
“Finally, after 11 years, we’re really ready to rock and roll,” Swanson said. “We got it all together.”
The general fund has revenues of $13,732 with expenditures estimated at $13,732, and reserves at $1,636,200. The city’s population continues to grow at an average of 1.3% per year and is currently at 36,066 residents.
Swanson touted the city’s newest additions to public safety that includes an additional medic squad, added traffic patrols, community patrol officer and an additional services-parking patrol.
“The biggest expenditure that we have is public safety,” Swanson said. “65% goes to police, fire, animal control and emergency services.”
Swanson said $700,000 of the budget is allocated toward road repairs and service. She said it is the biggest budget they’ve had for that issue since the city’s beginnings.
“It’s only one year, give us five years and your roads will be fixed,” Swanson said.
She said the city is also working hard to address the homeless issue in the area.
Swanson talked about new partnerships like the one the council recently formalized with Santa Rosa Plateau Education Foundation and the improvements to the quality of life of all residents, including the opening of the city’s fourth park, Malaga-Gateway with plans for 11-acre and 27-acre parks. She also talked about the special events hosted by the city.
“Have you ever seen 16,000 eggs?” Swanson said, talking about the city’s Easter celebration. “Have you helped fill those 16,000 eggs? They put something in each one of them. The kids had a ball.”
She also talked about the hiring of the city of Wildomar Economic Development Director Kimberly Davidson and the establishment of the city’s first such department.
“Not only does she do business attraction, business retention and business growth,” Swanson said. “She goes throughout the city. If you need something, a permit, she will walk it through with you. If you need help getting your business going or getting it back and track, she will be happy to go to your business and give you some ideas and give you a plan.”
She also highlighted the change to Baxter Road and four others which will all be renamed to Wildomar Trail.
“It will provide a little bit more safety and ease of people getting where they are going and understanding where they are,” Swanson said. “And Wildomar will be big and bold on the freeway.”
Jeff Pack can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.