In the early 1990s, Wildomar had the misfortune of being invaded by an organization known as "Ortega Trails Recreation and Park District" because a few citizens insisted they had a right to parks.
Ortega Trails proceeded to spend $157,600 in Quimby Fees collected from developers and an additional $596,000 in improvements for parks in Wildomar.
This organization passed a parcel tax of $20 per parcel, which increased by $39 for a total of $59. And then they tried to pass a consolidated tax because of Proposition 218 of $71, a full three years after they were required to by law.
Thanks to citizen opposition, this tax measure was defeated and a measure placed on the ballot after the gathering of enough signatures led to a defunding of this organization.
A state audit concluded that the money spent by Ortega Trails was legally spent to the extent that the state could piece together: In the last few years of its existence, Ortega Trails failed to maintain a proper set of books.
This sounds pretty bad but then the county took over and in order to clear up the mess created it was necessary to spend an additional $6,633,992 to pay off debts incurred.
But we're not finished. The county then spent $6,000,000 more to rehabilitate some of the original parks. This happened after the citizens of Wildomar were coerced into passing a parcel tax for maintanence that barely squeeked through. This tax measure written by the county was later ruled unconstitutional.
To top it all off, the county -- just months before Wildomar became a city -- negotiated a deal with a developer for an eastside park that, if the city accepts this land, will result in our giving up $3,400,000 in future Quimby Fees plus $1,900,000 in fees already collected.
So what do we have for $18,686,992? Three parks (two of which have no parking) and one more that will cost somewhere north of $10,000,000 to develop.
Come November, "Just say No."