By PE Politics
September 10, 2011 2:15 AM
Four Riverside County cities that lost up to one-half of their revenue in the June budget deal failed to recover any of it in the final hours of the 2011 regular session that ended early this morning.
Late Friday, Assembly Democrats rejected amendments to make $14 million in aid for Eastvale, Wildomar, Menifee and Jurupa Valley part of legislation to restore $48 million in budget cuts to Orange County.
“We did the best we could do. We gave it everything we had,” said Assemblyman Jeff Miller, R-Corona, whose district includes Eastvale.
Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries, R-Lake Elsinore, said some of the cities, particularly the newest — Eastvale and Jurupa — face a fiscal crisis in the coming months. The Legislature is scheduled to return in January.
“It’s really bad news. We had city council members watching tonight, hoping and praying,” said Jeffries, who represents Jurupa Valley and part of Wildomar.
In other matters, neither house considered legislation by the Brown administration to revamp and increase a fee on rural properties where the state has the main firefighting responsibility. An estimated 100,000 such properties are in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
The proposal called for a minimum $175 fee for the first structure in a parcel within the state responsibility area. It also included a $1 per acre charge, up to a maximum of $3,000.
That was significantly more expensive than the maximum $150 per-structure fee included in the June budget package. Lawmakers of both parties panned the revamped plan at budget hearings earlier this week and requested changes. None emerged.
The outcome lets stand, for now, a fire fee schedule adopted by the forestry board last month. It sets a maximum fee of $90 that, with various discounts, will raise much less than the $50 million assumed for 2011-12.
“If they choose not to adopt it, we have to assess what our options are going forward,” H.D. Palmer, spokesman for Brown’s Department of Finance, said several hours before the Legislature adjourned.
Cities lose out
The $85.9 billion general fund budget took cities’ vehicle license-fee revenue to help pay for local law-enforcement grants. All cities lost some revenue money in the shift.
None, however, were hit as hard as cities incorporated after 2004, all of which are in Riverside County. New cities receive an extra boost of license-fee revenue to help them get established.
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