The budget outlook of Wildomar is among Riverside County's priorities going into 2013, the Board of Supervisors have told the county's lobbyists.
On Dec. 18, the board unanimously approved a slate of legislative priorities based on impacts to the county and its residents.
One of the foremost concerns was whether the state Legislature and governor will come through with a restoration of funding to preserve the cities of Wildomar, Eastvale, Jurupa Valley and Menifee, all of which incorporated in the last four years.
Each nascent municipality is struggling -- Jurupa Valley has already begun preparing to disincorporate -- after $130 million was taken away by the Legislature in June 2011 as part of Gov. Jerry Brown's realignment package.
The cities had formed expecting to receive adequate start-up funding from the state under legislation approved years earlier.
"If we don't get a quick resolution, it's going to create a tremendous economic challenge," Supervisor Jeff Stone told Jim Gross of the law firm Nielson, Merksamer, Parrinello, Gross & Leoni, which represents the county's interests in the state capital.
"The county will have to step in. I'm hoping you can come up with a strategy that compels California to keep its end of the bargain and repair this problem."
Gross said the lobbying firm would be working diligently to convince lawmakers and the governor to agree to a solution.
During the Dec. 18 meeting, other county concerns were addressed. Stone highlighted the need for more state funding in support of public safety, particularly jail construction. He noted the inadequacy of the $100 million awarded after t
As a result, the county's jail capacity has reached its limit over the last year, requiring the sheriff to periodically release so-called "low-level" offenders to make space in accordance with a federal judicial decree that mandates every inmate have a bed.
Stone lastly expressed concern over whether the state would leave counties stranded in meeting Medicaid and other obligations under the federal
"It should be the 'unaffordable health care act,"' the supervisor said. "Counties are going to end up bearing responsibility for many people who are not part of the health care system today."
Supervisor Marion Ashley urged the lobbying firm to work on repealing the by critics. Passed as part of the governor's deficit control plan in 2011, the $150 annual fee is imposed on mostly rural property owners who receive fire protection service from Cal Fire.
"Out in Lakeview and Nuevo, if they catch on fire, the county is the one responsible for putting the thing out," Ashley said, noting that property owners in those communities are nevertheless having to pay the fire tax.
Board Chairman John Tavaglione emphasized the need for better communication between the county, its lobbyists, the California State Association of Counties and other stakeholders.
"There's sometimes a disconnect," Tavaglione said. "Potential disputes arise over size and coverage. We need to avoid that. We must all try to be on the same page, communicating the same message."
CSAC's opposition led Brown to veto the legislative fix to replace lost funding for the four cities.
Gross promised the county's lobbyists would be "spending more time" working with county agencies to ensure "Sacramento does not undermine what you have done."