A bill that would restore millions of dollars to new cities – including Wildomar -- crossed a hurdle Wednesday morning and is now moving forward.
California’s SB 1566 passed out of the state Senate Governance and Finance Committee with a 9-0 vote and is now headed to the state Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on April 24.
It would restore to the city an ongoing revenue stream derived from vehicle license fees.
For fiscal year 2012-13, the impact would be big: $1.8 million, according to Wildomar Assistant City Manager Gary Nordquist.
The news out of Sacramento was promising today, but Wildomar City Manager Frank Oviedo was cautiously optimistic.
“It’s a first step – a good first step,” he said, adding that the bill still has a long way to go.
However, Oviedo said Wednesday's unanimous vote shows bi-partisan support.
“Today was a very good sign,” he said.
Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries (R-Lake Elsinore) co-authored the legislation and said he is very pleased the bill received such strong bi-partisan support in its first hearing.
“It gives me great hope that we can restore this critical funding to Wildomar and our other new cities in Riverside County,” he said.
Senator Bill Emmerson (R-Hemet) also represents Lake Elsinore. He along with Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino) introduced SB 1566 earlier this year.
“I’m pleased that SB 1566 received unanimous support at today’s hearing,” he said. “Last year the governor took away the funding source that newly incorporated cities count on for crucial services and this is an important first step toward fixing that broken promise.”
millions of dollars in vehicle license fees revenue that cities historically receive was instead placed into an account for law enforcement services.
California’s newest cities were hit especially hard by the legislation. When Wildomar incorporated in 2008, SB 89 was not on the radar.
For the young city, a $1.8 million hit is significant. In fiscal year 2008-09, the city’s general fund revenues totaled $9.5 million. General fund revenues for the 2012-13 fiscal year, which begins July 1, are projected at $6.6 million, according to Nordquist, who provided the figures during an April 17 budget workshop. The drop, Nordquist explained, was directly tied to the loss in vehicle license fees revenue.
Oviedo argued during the budget workshop that SB 89 “killed” new cityhood in California.
“It makes incorporation impossible. No one has the money,” he said.
Along with Wildomar, the new cities of Menifee, Jurupa Valley and Eastvale are also greatly impacted by the lost vehicle license fees revenue stream.
During Wednesday’s hearing in Sacramento, Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff and Jurupa Valley Mayor Laura Roughton spoke on behalf of the four new cities.