11:17 PM PDT on Monday, June 6, 2011

By JOHN F. HILL
The Press-Enterprise

Today is Election Day, and voters in three southwest Riverside County cities have decisions to make about the future of their communities.

Wildomar, Menifee and Canyon Lake voters will go to the polls to decide on local ballot measures. Many already have voted by mail.

Measure D is a park tax on the ballot in Wildomar. If approved, the City Council will set the tax rate, up to $28 annually, per parcel in the first year.

City leaders have said they don’t have the money to keep the parks open if the measure fails. It needs a two-third majority to pass.

The tax is expected to bring in about $350,000 to pay for maintenance, utilities and programs at Wildomar’s three public parks.

A new Wal-Mart is on the ballot in Menifee. If approved, Measure C would allow the company to build a 205,000-square-foot, 24-hour Supercenter and other stores at the northwest corner of Scott and Haun roads.

It would be built in a corner of Menifee that not long ago was rural and now is a traffic-clogged stretch of road off Interstate 215. The company will pay Menifee $3.8 million for traffic upgrades if the store is built.

The retailer collected thousands of signatures and spent more than $260,000 to bypass the city approval process and put its plans directly before voters.

In Canyon Lake, voters will decide whether to start taxing themselves to help pay for police and fire coverage in the small, gated city.

Measure E would put a $204 annual assessment on each developed residential and commercial parcel and a $96 annual assessment on each undeveloped parcel. Two-thirds of the voters casting ballots must support the measure for it to pass.

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