Valley News -

Area residents to vote on proposed tax hikes, bond floats today


Last updated 11/6/2018 at 9:26am

RIVERSIDE - Measures seeking authorizations for sales tax increases, bond sales and other revenue-generating sources will be decided by voters today in more than a dozen municipalities and unincorporated communities throughout Riverside County.

In Wildomar, voters are being asked to consider a 1 percent transactions and use tax, which the City Council voted unanimously to place on the ballot.

The tax would be separate from existing sales taxes and would apply to any business transaction involving "tangible property,'' according to the measure. Supporters said the levy is vital for public safety, but opponents, identified in campaign literature as residents affiliated with, said the tax will be "placed in the general fund for any municipal purpose'' and will increase costs for virtually everything.

In Murrieta, Measure T is at issue and would entail raising the 7.75 percent sales tax to 8.75 percent. According to supporters, the adjustment would result in an estimated $14 million in additional revenue, helping sustain public safety services.

Murrieta resident Bob Landwehr wrote an opposition statement for the ballot, saying the city's books were balanced and Measure T was an attempt to push through an unnecessary tax.

In Canyon Lake, voters will decide whether it's time to extend the 3.95 percent utility users tax that went into effect in 2015. Measure S would extend the UUT indefinitely, instead of ending it on Dec. 31, 2020.

According to supporters, the measure ensures that the gated municipality's sole fire station will remain in operation. However, former councilman John Zaitz posted an opposition statement on the ballot saying the city is already forecasting a $538,000 budget deficit in the current fiscal year, leaving no assurance the station can be saved.

The city has struggled with Cal Fire to contain contract costs for emergency services. The firehouse was closed for a year due to the conflict.

School bond floats are in voters' control, each requiring 55 percent approval.

Measure W is before voters in Homeland, Nuevo and Perris, who will decide whether to OK up to $148 million in bonds for the Perris Union High School District.

Funds would cover the cost of constructing a new high school, paying for upgrades to existing academic structures and establishing "career-training facilities'' on campuses, according to campaign material.

Amortizing the bonds will cost about $30 per $100,000 of assessed value for residential and commercial properties in the district annually.

Lastly, Measure X impacts Aguanga, Anza, Hemet, Idyllwild and Winchester voters, who will decide whether to authorize $150 million in bonds, benefiting the Hemet Unified School District.

According to campaign documents, funding would go toward upgrades to classrooms and labs, replacement of plumbing and electrical systems at multiple schools and safety improvements.

Paying down the IOUs will cost affected property owners $49 per $100,000 of assessed value on their holdings annually, documents stated.


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