Lake Elsinore Jockeys As Canyon Lake's Only Fire Station Closer To Shutting Down

Patch file photo/Daniel Lane
Patch file photo/Daniel Lane

With the fate of Canyon Lake's only fire station hanging in the balance following Tuesday's election, Lake Elsinore's elected officials are warning that their constituents shouldn't be on the hook for a neighbor's fire protection services.  

Statements were released today by Lake Elsinore Mayor Bob Magee and Lake Elsinore Councilman Brian Tisdale following what appears to be the defeat of Measure D in Canyon Lake.

The initiative asked Canyon Lake voters if they were willing to pay a special property tax to keep that city's only fire station open. Without passage of Measure D, Station 60 could close as early as Dec. 5, 2013, and the cities of Lake Elsinore and Menifee are worried they will have to provide fire protection for the gated, upscale community of Canyon Lake. 

With all precincts counted, 50.85 percent or 1,139 of Canyon Lake's registered voters who cast ballots Tuesday voted "no" on Measure D.

There is still wiggle room, however. Rebecca Spencer, assistant registrar for the county, said 75 provisional ballots from Canyon Lake must still be processed. How many of those are valid remains to be determined, but Spencer admitted the Canyon Lake count will likely be impacted. 

Countywide, there are also 3,000 vote-by-mail and 100 damaged ballots that must be processed, although Spencer could not say how many of those might be from Canyon Lake. By Friday evening, it's expected all the vote-by-mail and damaged ballots will be processed; Spencer expects the provisional ballots to take a bit longer.

Still, early indications point to failure for Measure D, and that has Lake Elsinore officials on edge.

“It is very unfortunate that the citizens of Canyon Lake have voted not to pass this important public safety measure for their community," Mayor Magee said. "In Lake Elsinore, public safety is our number one priority. In just the last decade, we have built and opened three fire stations to provide our residents with the best fire and emergency services possible. Moving forward, we must ensure our residents’ tax dollars are not used to subsidize fire protection services for other communities and that we can continue to provide our residents the highest level of service.”

In the City of Lake Elsinore, most residents pay up to $450 in property tax assessments each year to fund public safety within the community, according to Nicole Dailey, spokeswoman for the city. Currently, Lake Elsinore has four operational fire stations within its city limits.

During the Nov. 12 Lake Elsinore City Council meeting, there will be discussion about how the city can work with its regional partners to ensure fire and emergency services are fairly provided and funded throughout the region, Dailey said.

Councilman Tisdale, who led the charge to open Rosetta Canyon's Station 97 in Lake Elsinore this year, sounded optimistic that a fair solution can be worked out to ensure his constituents don't foot the bill for Canyon Lake's fire protection services.   

“In our community, public safety comes first," he said. "We vow to work closely with local officials to ensure the region, and its residents, continue receiving the highest level of fire and emergency services. Together, I am confident we can come up with a plan that is fair and responsive to the needs of our region.”

The only other initiative on the ballot for Canyon Lake was Measure E, which shows no hope of passing even with the outstanding provisional, vote-by-mail and damaged ballots. The measure asked city residents if an area of Canyon Lake commonly known as Goetz Hill should be graded for retail development. With all precincts counted, just 543 or 24.32 percent of voters cast a "yes" vote, while 1,690 or 75.68 percent voted "no." 



Gill Galindo November 06, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Canyon Lake has always though they were high and mighty..they need to pay their own way..They want to get services from everyone else yet they are rude when you come to visit someone in their community..Canyon Lake needs new leaders that can run their city according to the standards that they want to maintain and if they want to keep it a gated community then figure out how to do it without taking outside resources...
John Zaitz November 06, 2013 at 08:40 PM
You said there are 75 outstanding provisional ballots that maytake it over the 50% in favor but it takes 2/3 to pass or aroung 390 additional yes votes.
Toni McAllister (Editor) November 07, 2013 at 12:01 AM
John ... In addition the 75 provisional ballots from Canyon Lake, there are still 3,000 vote-by-mail and 100 damaged ballots that need to be counted. As of Wednesday afternoon, the registrar's office could not say how many of those uncounted 3,100 ballots are from Canyon Lake. But even with that unknown element, it's likely Measure D won't get the votes needed to pass ...
Secondhand Rose November 07, 2013 at 12:29 AM
Canyon Fake residents need to pay their own way or open their gates. Other cities/tax payers should not be responsible to flip the bill because the citizens of The Fake have voted not to pass this important public safety measure for their community which should be their number one priority. If you want all the glam of saying you live in a Private Gated Community make sure your pocket book can afford all that comes along with it. Bear Creek residents pay their own way. Why? Because the home owners in BC have the pocket book to go along with it and don't need to sacrifice the safety of their community & loved ones because they can't afford a tax increase.
lotsahelp November 07, 2013 at 09:49 AM
Good point Secondhand Rose! Gated communities exist WITHIN many cities. Isn't it time for Canyon Lake to admit they can't survive separately?
D A November 07, 2013 at 10:53 AM
If Canyon lake can't afford to be a city then Maybe they should disincorporate!
Not2PC November 07, 2013 at 12:37 PM
To LE Resident that does not exactly work, but would help. Lake Elsinore has to cover X area with 4 fire teams and now that area will increase. This in turn could mean slower response times. This is the reason LE contracts with the Sheriffs to add additional police. The Canyon Lake HOA I believe is like $450 a month. They knew this when they bought there. So, tack on an extra $50 a month and handle your business. Scale down the POA staff, reduce park times, remove life guards at pools, reduce watering the foilage etc. HANDLE it don't pan handled it.
SA November 07, 2013 at 06:44 PM
I own rental property in Canyon Fake. A beautiful home but what a mistake so let it all burn…
CL resident November 07, 2013 at 10:05 PM
CLPOA is not the ones that pay for the FIRE that is a city bill. I could not agree with all of you more about the fact that there are a bunch of morons in CL that voted to close this station. I also could not agree more that our "leaders" are a bunch of incompetent morons as well. However the POA has nothing to do with this, it is a City issue not the POA so the POA dues have nothing to do with the station.
Kelli Tolbert November 07, 2013 at 10:42 PM
The Canyon Lake HOA fees are Not $450 per month. Way less.
Kelli Tolbert November 08, 2013 at 10:05 AM
The residents votes it down. Please get the facts straight.
DB November 08, 2013 at 11:25 AM
@ Kelli .......The residents make up the POA.....
D A November 08, 2013 at 12:00 PM
The POA has always had more power than the City in Canyon Lake. Most of the residents are forced members of the POA. Police and Fire are City Services not POA services so it is illogical to bill the POA. If you want to Bill It would be the City being billed, it would probably bankrupt them if they paid it. Believe it or not there are actually homes in Canyon Lake city limits that are not part of the HOA (But not a lot) If the POA Board Thought that this issue could have effected the public safety then they should have supported it openly and supported its passing. Just because the POA members are Residents does not mean The POA or its board is responsible for how the residents vote. The City, The POA the residents are tied together but they are separate bodies. And everyone seems to lump them all together and they are not one.


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