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RESIDENTS TELL WILDOMAR: Relocate City Hall, Bring More Business

About a dozen people showed up for a public workshop Tuesday that was designed to give Wildomar residents a platform in which to raise concerns, express ideas and ask questions about the city’s 2012-13 budget that begins July 1.

Despite an indepth presentation and staff on-hand ready to answer any questions about how city dollars are being spent, only a small number of residents turned out for Tuesday night’s City of Wildomar Budget Workshop.

About a dozen people -- including three city staff members, one appointed official, and two reporters – showed up for the workshop at that was designed to give the public a platform in which to raise concerns, express ideas and ask questions about the city’s 2012-13 budget that begins July 1.

The city is currently facing a tight budget, said Wildomar Assistant City Manager Gary Nordquist, who led Tuesday’s more than hour-long presentation.

                        2012-13 Budget Workshop Highlights

  • The city has been stripped of by the state.
  • The city's general fund reserves are $1.3 million.
  • Projected general fund revenues are $6.6 million; general fund expenditures are approximately $145,000 greater.
  • Police service costs will increase by nearly
  • Fire service costs are expected to increase by $100,000.
  • Sales tax revenue is projected to increase by 10 percent or approximately $100,000.

 

During the workshop, residents in the audience identified key areas they want to see the city focus on in the upcoming year. The discussion items will be presented to City Council for consideration during the May 9 City Council meeting. The priorities identified Tuesday include (in no particular order):

 

Relocate City Hall.

Currently, the city pays $10,000 a month to lease space on Clinton Keith Road for City Hall. The lease expires in December 2013. Wildomar residents George Taylor and Gil Rasmussen suggested relocating city headquarters to refurbished modulars at Marna O’Brien Park. They felt the move would do two things: save money on a lease and cut down on vandals at the park. Rasmussen said the park is the heart of Wildomar and as such would be an appropriate location for City Hall. Cost to refurbish the modulars is estimated between $300,000 and $400,000, Norquist said.

 

Currently, the shelter is shared among cities that include Wildomar, Lake Elsinore, Temecula, Murrieta, Canyon Lake and Menifee. It opened in 2010 as a result of a $15 million bond measure that all the cities are responsible for repaying. Per the current contract agreement, the cost sharing of annual operating expenses and paying off the bond for the shelter is based on animal counts: The more unwanted pets a city has coming into the shelter, the bigger the payout for that city.

Wildomar resident Sheryl Ade, along with Rasmussen, expressed concern that the “counts” methodology is flawed and Nordquist agreed.

 

Evaluate city council member benefits.

Taylor suggested cutting council member pension and he recommended also looking at ways to reduce the cost of healthcare benefits for the elected officials. Nordquist said it costs the city $75,000 annually for all council members.

 

Bring in more revenue.

Wildomar Planning Commissioner Harv Dykstra and Taylor said increasing city revenues by attracting business to the area should be a top priority. One idea was to hire on a lobbyist or consultant to bring business to the city. Dykstra was also concerned about retaining the businesses that are already located in Wildomar.

City Manager Frank Oviedo was at Tuesday’s workshop. He said that when it comes to attracting business to the area, tight lending is hurting development. He also said retailers are sometimes shy about Wildomar because the city’s demographics don’t meet their specific requirements.

Two residents at Tuesday’s meeting specifically wanted to see the city cut expenses so it can afford to keep its parks open. Currently, Marna O’Brien Park is the only one of three city parks open. The 9-acre site is being supported by the nonprofit group, Friends For Wildomar Parks.

 

Create a contingency fund.

Ade suggested the city set aside money out of its general fund to be used only in cases of emergency. A dollar amount was not suggested Tuesday night.

 

Crack down on code violators.

One resident wanted to see code enforcement do a better job of cracking down on people who create public safety issues and generate eyesores in the city.

 

More activities for kids.

One resident wrote in to Nordquist requesting a BMX park be built in the city.

 

If you have suggestions for the city, email them to Gary Nordquist at gnordquist@cityofwildomar.org, and plan to attend the May 9 City Council meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. Click here for more information about the meeting (the meeting agenda will post no later than the afternoon of May 4).

Ken Mayes April 18, 2012 at 02:02 PM
A dozen people, another publication says six out of a population of 32,000. This is community in the "Fiefdom of Wildomar".
J Carabine April 18, 2012 at 02:34 PM
I have always wondered what they paid for that city hall building space. I agree, get out of there ! I would love to know how many people are there on a daily basis and how much space they have leased. Reburbishing a modulor would cost $3-$400.000 ? Come on people, they could BUY a House here for a third of that and convert it to offices with volunteers. Where do they get these numbers? Having something at Marna may help the vandalism there but what about the vandalism everywhere else in the city ? I have been documenting it through photos for months, there is graffiti on every corner ;( sadly ! Maybe getting our youth involved somehow would help prevent them from tagging the city? Wildomar needs some pride in it's city, there is a handful of HARD working individuals trying like crazy to do that. But it take a village !! I would like to see them hire a FINANCIAL consultant to show them how to trim the excess spending. Shelter costs : If people would spay and neuter tag and chip there would be less dumped at the shelter to deal with and less for the city to pay for. Attracting more business to the city would be nice I am sure people would love more things to do here, we lack a lot and people do go south . I try to support the business's here. We need revenue from those business's to fund the city. There is always ways to trim the excess spending maybe Wildomar needs to consult with Dave Ramsey.
J Carabine April 18, 2012 at 02:35 PM
PS, I just looked at the photo and that tells a story.
Anon April 18, 2012 at 02:57 PM
I say move them!! Geez, what a waste of tax payer funds. Typical B.S.!
Jim April 18, 2012 at 03:13 PM
If we can make an economic case to relocate and save a buck that can be spent on services that benefit our citizens, then let's do it. Maybe someone at City Hall can calcuate the cost to move and new rent, then present for consideration. If there is a net positive benefit, say, within 5-7 years, then the City should take a serious look at this.
Tonto April 18, 2012 at 03:17 PM
The "city" of William, Donald, and Mary ain't never gonna make it. Just another failed tax vacuum robbing the people.
Rose Wilson April 18, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Bet if they cleaned up the nasty graffiti that seems to be everywhere that more business would want to start up here. The old nursery right off the 15/Bundy offramp looks like it's in the middle of gang territory in Compton. It's disgusting. I can't say I blame businesses for being wary of starting up here. Nobody wants to open a business in the middle of a ghetto.
J Carabine April 18, 2012 at 04:00 PM
I agree Rose. I have been documenting it and there is a lot !!
JoAnn April 18, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Were you 6 folks at the meeting last night? Noticed the whole bandwagon hasn't piped up yet this morning...with as many people as post negative stuff on here I am seeing where other folks are right...some of you just like to dive bomb negative stuff and then fly off waiting to splatter again .....Janice your comments about the refurbishing are spot on..I wondered the same thing, that seems excessive...also that rent for the space at city hall sure seems excessive and the suggestions you make are good ones if it makes sense financially.....agree on the graffiti....what did they say to your comments last night at the meeting?
Hawkeye April 18, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Abolish the city and give it back to the county. We are paying for a lot of extra government and I don't see what we're getting in return. Just politicians playing like they have a city. And I agree about the graffiti being a problem. I was told if I keep painting over it they'll get discouraged; well I''m getting discouraged. I try to shop local but I there is a big difference in price between Ace and Lowes.
Martha L. Bridges April 18, 2012 at 04:28 PM
The suggestions are all worthwhile considerations, but don't do enough in cutting waste on non-essential city expenses. We should tackle these 'big ticket' items, but not fail to address the little ones that add up to substantial savings. The city seems eager to put a high price tag on suggestions that may not be popular at City Hall - perhaps to discourage adopting these ideas – despite potential savings. Why is the city paying for multiple memberships in the Chamber of Commerce? Why is the city paying for council travel and phone service used more for personal use and re-election campaigning than city business? Why does the city pay to send multiple representatives to meetings in Las Vegas? There is no necessity for the taxpayers to pay council members benefits for what is supposed to be a volunteer, temporary job that is part time. Any careful observer should see our council members come to their meetings poorly prepared to address the items on the agenda. Last week, Ben Benoit was wondering aloud whether the city could sell or lease Windsong Park. Why didn’t he and the council come to the table with answers to that question? Paying to equip the council with iPADs, does no good if they don’t take the time to use them. Taxpayers should take hard look at every budget item and ask “is this essential”; are we getting honest value for the cost? As to new projects, we need to take care of what we already have before acting on any new ideas.
Diana April 18, 2012 at 04:32 PM
In being a property owner in Wildomar, it is impossible to try and get a business built on your land since Wildomar became a City. When we bought our property the County controled it and gave us a green flag for putting our shop there on Bundy Canyon, then when we finally got the funds together Wildomar took over and after several years and thousands of dollars they turned us down. It is this kind of doing business that keeps anyone from opening a buisness. These planning departments for LE & Wildomar need to speed up the process when businesses want to open in their City, the planning department takes way to long to aprrove or decline and people take their business elsewhere. As far as $300-$400 to revamp modulars, are you kidding me, you could buy new ones and replace them for a whole lot cheaper.
J Carabine April 18, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Jo Ann - I was working last night, not at the meeting.
Ken Mayes April 18, 2012 at 04:53 PM
I was not one of the 6 at last nights meeting and I will tell you why. In the past people that used to attend these meetings found out if you piss off someone at these meetings you will feel the rath of government come down on you. Just ask Martha. The most interesting thing I see in the article is the fact there was no mention of the $2,000,000 we owe the county next year, I guess they ASS-U-ME that the county will extend the deadline on payment even though the county is suffering a shortfall themselves and hopefully do not suffer any unforeseen disasters before then. As for moving city hall, 300K-400K to purchase and retrofit a modular, come on. Take a trip down Grand in Lakeland Village, these things are parked on both sides of the road. They could purchase an office trailer for about 20K and hold the meetings at the Taj Mahal of animal shelters, lord knows we are paying enough for it and they have plenty of meeting space with air-conditioning.
Martha L. Bridges April 18, 2012 at 05:18 PM
The best, most effective thing Wildomar could do to attract new commercial or residential development is to be able to honestly demonstrate to perspective developers that the city is economically stable and being run in a law abiding and fiscally sound manner. I mean, ask yourself why any intelligent developer would bring a decent project here under the city’s present circumstances. Any successful business person would look beyond the glitzy, slick propaganda the city is putting out and see the harsh realities. You don’t have to look too hard to see them! Smart business people would see how unprofessional some of our council members behave both personally and publicly, how desperate our city's fiscal situation has become, how ineffective the city is at delivering basic services to the residents and businesses that are already here. The graffiti is only one drawback. What about all the roads in terrible disrepair? What about the huge amount of existing commercial space sitting empty? What about the businesses that have already shuttered their doors because Wildomarians couldn’t afford to support them? Any smart business would want to look at the FACTS. They would want to see demographics, population, income and real estate stats, and the city’s financial position. No amount of hype can substitute for those details. They would want to see the city's books and take a hard look at the budget and revenue situation.
Martha L. Bridges April 18, 2012 at 05:47 PM
I agree that there are a handful of regular commentators here that simply want to take negative swipes at others or make nasty political statements with a total lack of good grammar or civility. On the other hand, there are some people who are trying to expose what is bad about the way our city is being run; encouraging people to dig deeper into matters which should be of concern to every member of the community. The turnout at last night’s budget meeting displayed the high level of apathy… and perhaps some real frustration over the poor communication between the city and its citizens. It is hard to come back again and again with concerns and suggestions, only to feel like you are hitting your head against a brick wall. The city may be going through the motions of communicating with citizens, but their actions leave no doubt about the distain and total disregard for what the people want or need. This is not the kind of local control that was promised as part of incorporation.
Anthony April 18, 2012 at 05:55 PM
How come some of the retired or unemployed people here in Wildormar take turns watching or staking out the areas were graffiti is rampant to either catch or diswade these graffiti vandals. I am about ready to do this myself. And If I catch one I will tackle him, detain him and perform a citizens arrest on him and collect the $1000.00 dollar reward for prosocuting him. Come folks get in on this!
Martha L. Bridges April 18, 2012 at 06:57 PM
This city hall move could be far more economical than what is being projected here by city management! The existing furniture, equipment and system are already purchased and could easily be relocated and installed. While the city is obligated to use prevailing wage agreements for contractors, these do not apply to volunteer labor. If you really wanted to see this community come together, let volunteers do the work. Unlike other volunteer efforts in the city that are focused on single minded issues like maintaining the parks, this project would produce substantial savings for everyone in the community. And speaking of savings, why does our city management and council only start to look at cost control of all their expenditures after we are in crisis? They should be doing the analysis on an on-going basis like private sector business do every day.
Ken Mayes April 18, 2012 at 07:15 PM
That's all we need another Trayvon Martin situation. Citizen patrols can be a good thing when set-up and monitored properly but that cost money.
Ken Mayes April 18, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Martha the big things matter also. The National League of Cities list the average pay of a city manager as being 106K, that's for all cities. For a town of 32,000 it should be far less but we continue to pay for more for not one but 2 managers. Also pray tell what do we need a community services director for at a cost of 80K +benefits.
J Carabine April 18, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Anthony did you mean to say why don't they do this? I think basically people don't like to "get involved" .
Anon April 18, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Why dont they put camaras on the areas that are hit hardest and have volunteers watch monitors and call the police when they see someone tagging, then they can be caught red handed.
Rose Wilson April 18, 2012 at 10:35 PM
>And If I catch one I will tackle him, detain him and perform a citizens arrest on him and collect the $1000.00 dollar reward for prosocuting him. Come folks get in on this! Don't be surprised if you get shot while doing this. Many of these taggers have killed people while they were trying to stop them. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/11/man-shot-after-trying-to-stop-taggers-in-la-puente.html http://www.ktla.com/news/landing/ktla-man-shot-in-rear-by-taggers,0,4243043.story According to the L.A. Times, there have been several murders due to taggers, in Southern California: The stabbing is the latest instance of a person in Southern California being attacked after catching taggers vandalizing property, including three who were killed in the last two years. In August 2007, Pico Rivera grandmother Maria Hicks was shot dead after she honked her car horn, flashed her lights and followed a tagger who had defaced a wall. Ten days after Hicks’ death, Seutatia Tausili, 65, was shot and killed in Hesperia after she and her family questioned taggers spray-painting trash cans and the wall of their apartment building. In December, Jose Jorge Perez was fatally shot after he and a friend tried to stop a group of taggers in Hollywood.
Roberto April 19, 2012 at 12:41 AM
William Donald & Margaret must be turing in their graves. Job killers and anti-Wildomar folks like like business-job killers like liberal Martha is why Wildomar will never become anything.
Al April 19, 2012 at 03:58 AM
I brought a few new businesses to the City of Wildomar, only to be approved and rejected by the people of Wildomar who are afraid of change. You will never prosper while these people live in your City. Most of the people who come and disapprove of new projects at planning commission and council meeting have no idea what they are talking about, i mean not one bit. (there are a very few exceptions). Until the people in City Hall and the City Manager step up to the plate and not let a few people intimidate them by threatening to sue, this City will go broke. It should of remained in the jurisdiction of the County of Riverside not to say it's the best (that's another story).
Al April 19, 2012 at 04:06 AM
I brought a few new businesses to the City of Wildomar, only to be approved and rejected by the people of Wildomar who are afraid of change. You will never prosper while these people live in your City. Most of the people who come and disapprove of new projects at planning commission and council meeting have no idea what they are talking about, i mean not one bit. (there are a very few exceptions). Until the people in City Hall and the City Manager step up to the plate and not let a few people intimidate them by threatening to sue, this City will go broke. It should of remained in the jurisdiction of the County of Riverside not to say it's the best (that's another story).
Ray A April 19, 2012 at 05:16 AM
I hear a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking here. Where were all of you experts while last nights budget workshop was being held? Why were there no city council members present? And why is there no budget item designating any appropriation for the parks? I don't understand how the city council,who has stated their support for the parks, has not designated any funding in the budget for them. If all existing budget items were cut by say 5-10% and those funds redirected to a "park fund," I believe that the volunteers who work so hard to maintain the parks would be energized and encouraged to continue their efforts. If we had a budget, at least we would have some parameters to work with. But with a zero funding for parks, why should any of us feel heartened by the cities efforts? Our efforts should be a stop-gap measure until our city leaders figure out how to solve this situation. If we don't work together as a community our city will fail, and that is in nobody's interest.
Ken Mayes April 19, 2012 at 09:32 PM
A little more specificity would be nice, which business was approved then rejected by the people of Wildomar. Last I checked only the "Fiefdom of Wildomar" has had the opportunity to approve or disapprove anything in this city and if they did a poor job of reviewing the plans before approval and then had to withdraw their support because it did not meet current laws and guidelines then so be it.
Theresa July 14, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Diana, Your right its hard to get any kind of business started or keep it going in Wildormar or Lake Elsinore, Do you or any one else remember the Warehouse off of bundy, open to the public the first wed of every month, They had been a family run business with permits for their resale for over 30ys and as soon as Wildomar became a city they closed them down, and like the old swap meet people came from all over to shop there. :{

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