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Wildomar City Council Accepts $6.8 Million Budget, 2 Posts

The council also unanimously approved a proposal to create permanent posts for a Planning Director and manager of Community Services.

The Wildomar City Council with very little discussion on Wednesday approved a $6.8 million budget and agreed to create the permanent post of Planning Director and Community Services Manager.

"I think we need those two positions to move along," said during the meeting.

The council will decide at a later date whether to appoint the current, contracted employees to the permanent posts or to advertise and go through a vetting process to find candidates to fill the positions.

Councilman expressed his desire to see a hiring process used to find the best person qualified for each position.

He also said he wanted city staff to show him the money -- the exact amount of funds saved by making the positions full-time rather than the contracted positions they are currently.

"I'd like to ... visit the conservative approach," Cashman said, adding that when the city incorporated three years ago, contracting managerial staff positions was the best road to take.

"It's been a very successful model," Cashman said.

Councilman said he likes the contracting system as well, but for middle management, not so much for heads of departments.

In the end, the council agreed that the time has come to begin setting up departments that can help residents and developers alike on a full-time basis.

The council also looked at a wish list of projects that were not included in the budget but could be inserted at a later date.

This includes a program that would create LED signage for the city and also a comprehensive LED ordinance.

Those issues will be discussed at the June council meeting.

In presenting the budget to the council, City Manager Frank Oviedo told that body that the budget was not too different from this year's finance plan and there was not much wiggle room between revenues and expenditures.

The expenditures for 2012-13 are estimated at $6.8 million, which will leave about $144,000 in the General Fund.

Coupled with this year's General Fund surplus, the city should see an end of year safety net of about $511,189, Oviedo said.

Oviedo said that it is time for the council to set the tone for the direction the city will take, with Wildomar either "treading water or building a new paradigm for government."

During the entire meeting and especially the budget presentation, city staff bemoaned the loss of millions of dollars in vehicle licensing fees.

As part of the state budget package Governor Jerry Brown signed into law June 30, 2011, a total $130 million in vehicle license fee revenues were chopped out of city budgets statewide.

Four new cities in Riverside County -- including Wildomar -- are collectively facing nearly $15 million in revenue losses because of the last-minute state budget provision.

Wildomar incorporated with the belief that the lion's share of revenues to the city would come from vehicle licensing fees and now finds itself without a safety net.

To read more about the revenue loss, please click here.

Ray A May 10, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Two new full-time positions in the budget but no appropriations for the parks? Yet members of the council call themselves "friends of the parks." I just don't understand all of the lip service about parks, and yet we still have no viable solutions for keeping them open. Couldn't they have budgeted something/anything for the parks? I hope i'm wrong, but it seems the council really isn't even trying to give parks the attention they deserve. Where are our kids on the council's priority list?
TRUTHBTOLD May 10, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Why is Lake Elsinore's seal shown with a story about Wildomar's budget? Don't they have their own seal?
Martha L. Bridges May 10, 2012 at 09:43 PM
The error is understandable and the information and city logo have been corrected. The community needs to support the PATCH with helpful information. Their news is far more accurate and less slanted than other publications.
Ken Mayes May 10, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Nowhere in this budget do I see mention of paying back the loans we took from the County of Riverside that are due and payable in 2013.
Roberto May 10, 2012 at 11:03 PM
"Yet members of the council call themselves "friends of the parks." REPLY: this is more unethical riverside County than the Councils fault. "Quimby Fee's" collected from developers for parks not used ended up the the County General fund years ago. what should have happened if a 2/3rd's majority couldn't be achieved to support passive parks through a CSA, then the developments should have had a HOA to achieve better planning. The Quimby fee's should have stayed in the community in which they were collected.
Ken Mayes May 11, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Roberto I see your reading more science fiction again. Revenues resulting from Quimby fees must be kept and administered in a separate account or fund dedicated to the public improvements being financed and must not be commingled with other revenues and funds of the local agency (Government Code section 66006). In addition, five years after the first deposit into the account or fund, the local agency must make specific findings regarding any unexpended funds, whether those funds are committed to expenditure or not (Government Code section 66001). The same findings must continue to be made once every five years thereafter. If these findings are not made, statute requires the agency to refund the fees to the current owner of the affected property. Refunds may be made by direct payment, temporary suspension of fees, or "other reasonable means," at the discretion of the local agency. In its findings under section 66001, the agency must: (1) identify the purpose to which the fee is put; (2) demonstrate a reasonable relationship between the fee and purpose for which it is charged; (3) identify all sources and amounts of funding anticipated to be used to finance the incomplete improvements; and (4) designate the approximate dates on which the above funding is expected to be deposited into the appropriate account or fund.
Roberto May 11, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Good for you Ken, I'm sure sure it must be fun in your fantasyland. If you believe all Quimby fees went to a CSA, CSD, or a lighting and landscape district, you are wrong. If this was true, there would be a unkept park on every corner in Wildomar.
Ken Mayes May 11, 2012 at 04:02 AM
Roberto If your so sure about your accusations then file a complaint with the grand jury as tampering with these funds would be a criminal offense. Problem I see with that is you have to have more than a suspicion.
Martha L. Bridges May 11, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Yes, two new full-time positions added with language that will allow the city to simply hire the people who are now contractors without going through the process of posting the jobs and honestly considering all applicants. Do we really need to spend this amount on these two positions...in this economy? I doubt it. If the city were to advertise the community services job at $60K per year with benefits to boot, I bet hundreds would apply. There are considerable funds that could be found for the parks maintenance, if the council really wanted to find them. But, no, parks for all the children are not really a priority, just a political football for the council to kick around. They are not willing to put children at the top of the priority list and find the money for the parks.
Martha L. Bridges May 11, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Right on...Ken. This repayment should have been at the top of the priority list from day one when the city actually had some money, but the council continues to kick the can down the road in hopes the county or state will rescue the Wildomar. For this kind of wishful thinking and poor governance we are paying the city council and the city management way too much. We need an honest-to-god, professional treasurer who is elected and held answerable to the public instead of the council. That's what LAFCO and the law calls for, and it is obvious that's what we need. But instead our blind council chose to hire a full-time planning director for planning projects that are at an all time low, and a community services manager for a slim set of nonessential services that we could mostly do without. What we will probably get is another proposal for a hugely expensive bond issue so that the council can spend the city out of the debt they’ve run up. I hope voters have the gumption to defeat any new tax.
Martha L. Bridges May 11, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Roberto, the Quimby fees were rightfully entrusted to the county and should have been handled just as Ken points out. There was no local authority or agency other than the county...before incorporation. You may be correct that collection and management of these fees was lax. On the other hand, the city council is poorly informed on these legal matters. For example, the small Windsong Park was installed using Quimby fees, and the land can't just be sold by the city as some council members have suggested. Many people chose to buy homes here in Wildomar because of the low property tax rates; no Mello-Roos based taxes and the lack of HOAs with all their fees and internal politics. Reasonable people should have realized that Wildomar would not be able to provide a lot of extra amenities that more expensive locations or developments might provide. Some buyers wanted the affordability far more than the extras. Newcomers came later and paid higher home costs, and are looking for more amenities and are willing to pay for them. What we end up with is a community that is sharply divided by differing incomes and expectations. Given that serious division, it will be hard to find a 2/3rds vote for any form of new taxes.
Martha L. Bridges May 11, 2012 at 04:34 PM
If you are planning to take action, the district attorney's office may be able to give you some direction. Ken is right that talking about this kind of problem rarely resolves things. Much of the county and city still operates on seeing what they can get away with...
Roberto May 11, 2012 at 04:59 PM
What happened in the Wildomar area is very complex. I never said illegal although it it. I said unethical pertaining to Wildomar. Several of park properties turned over in lieu of Quimby fees were properties that are already flood control. There is one in a tract east of the 15 referred to as the Pit for example. It's a least 25 feet deep and was used to get developers out of paying Quimby fees. There are several others. Why would anyone ever agree to this? When the people voted to disolve the Park district, my recollection is 400,000 dollars went back to the County general fund. Criminal offense? Not in Rail Road County. They claim this kind of stuff has no criminal intent rarely prosecute white collar crime. Unless your name is George Alongi and not Melissa Melendez.
Ken Mayes May 11, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Roberto what happened in Wildomar is most assuredly complex. But the bottom line after a state audit was that all the Quimby monies collected before Wildomar became a city were accounted for except about $12,000. That being said there still exist a problem in Wildomar in that they collect $2,325 per residential unit whereas Temecula collects $4,433 per residential unit. Wildomar collects about half what most cities collect. The other problem I see is that in-lieu of the fee the developer is allowed to pay in land which is total bull, most of the time the city accepts land that is totally worthless, i.e. Windsong Park with no parking. A better system would be to make everyone pay the fee no exceptions. This would require the city to purchase land suitable for parks in areas accessible to all the citizens. But with that brings another problem, how is the land to be bought without undue influence. My suggestion would be to randomly draw names from a list of landowners in the city to serve on a purchasing committee consisting of 7-9 members for that purchase only to review the purchase making sure the city paid the proper price for suitable land. I know fantasyland but the system we have now is not working and its time to think outside the box.
Roberto May 11, 2012 at 09:32 PM
It takes a super majority to pass a tax. Wildomar being post prop. 13 City should only allow devlopments with an HOA for passive parks. A motto for sports park is what Murrietta does with the Pony League running a class A sports park and joint School / sports/ city agreements. Fuzzy math is why all Quimby fee's are accounted. Some Quimby fee's were not paid by developers ala worhtless land deeded over, Influence peddling and a slap on the back and a red envelope ensured others were not paid and even the disolution of the previous park district sent over 400,000 tax dollars to the County general fund. There is no way tax dollars were not sent to a discretionary County general fund and some rebated back for a vote in my opinion.
Ken Mayes May 11, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Some people see a conspiracy under every rock. Quimby fees are not a tax. As for the state audit read it and weep at www.bsa.ca.gov/reports/summary/2002-106
Roberto May 12, 2012 at 12:09 AM
KEN SAID: "Some people see a conspiracy under every rock." REPLY: Ther you go again with your snide accusations. I said they are unethical and never alluded to a conspiracy. Go visit Wildomars parks and tell me Quimby fees were utilized as appropiate or the disolution of the park district money did not go to the general fund. Let me give you insult tactics a go: Take off your rose coloured glassed and pull your head out of you preferred orifice and get a breath of fresh oxygen before accusing someone instead of dealing in reality.

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