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County Assumes Troubled City's Public Safety Obligations

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
Issue 09, Volume 17.
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RIVERSIDE - The city of Jurupa Valley, deep in a financial crisis stemming from changes to state law, will be relieved of making $6 million in payments for law enforcement services due to a cost-deferral plan implemented today by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.

"If we don't see some fiscal help that allows them to pay this back, there's no more going down this path," board Chairman John Benoit warned before joining his colleagues in a unanimous vote in favor of the relief effort.

Under the plan, the financially strapped city, which incorporated on July 1, 2011, will be spared paying the last six months of sheriff's department services until 2015.

The county will cover the deficiency by drawing down its reserves.

"We cannot continue to carry the city," said Supervisor John Tavaglione, whose district encompasses Jurupa Valley. "We want to see the city survive, but it's going to take a legislative fix. We can only do so much during this period."

In June 2011, Jurupa Valley, Eastvale, Menifee and Wildomar lost vehicle license fee revenue that had been promised under legislation approved five years earlier.

The loss stemmed from the signing of Senate Bill 89 into law as part of Gov. Jerry Brown's realignment package. SB 89 redirected $15 million that would have gone to Jurupa Valley and its sister cities into a "Law Enforcement Services Account" established to assist public safety agencies statewide impacted by realignment, under which more state responsibilities were shifted onto counties, including incarcerating "low-level" criminal offenders and prosecuting parole violators.

A bill that would have restored the VLF funds, Assembly Bill 1098, was vetoed last September by the governor, who cited the state's tenuous financial condition.

Sens. Bill Emmerson, R-Hemet, and Richard Roth, D-Riverside, have proposed another rescue package in the form of Senate Bill 56, which would restore some of the VLF revenue to each of the nascent cities.

The bill is in committee.

Jurupa Valley officials told City News Service last August that disincorporation may be the only option if the state does not come through with the necessary funds.

The board also voted today in favor of permitting Menifee and Wildomar to delay reimbursements to the county for the cost of services provided to each during their transitions from unincorporated communities to full-fledged cities.

Menifee will be allowed to suspend payments until 2015, when it must begin amortizing $1 million owed to the county, according to Executive Office documents.

Menifee incorporated in October 2008.

Wildomar will be granted a deferral until July, when it must make its first $100,000 payment toward reducing $1.77 million in transition-related debt to the county.

Wildomar incorporated in July 2008.



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