As many of you know, I was part of a four-city contingent, representing 250,000 residents in Riverside County, that traveled to Sacramento on June 4 for a meeting with Governor Brown's Chief of Staff, Nancy McFadden. Mayors, council members and most city managers of Wildomar, Menifee, Eastvale and Jurupa Valley were all part of the team.
We were expecting to meet with only Ms. McFadden, but she brought the Governor's Legislative Director and a senior member of the Finance Team with her to the meeting. Also in attendance and a critical participant in the meeting was Senator Richard Roth, the co-author of SB 56 with our very own Senator Bill Emmerson.
Senator Emmerson could not join us because he was tied up in the Senate Budget Committee, which was in session while we were meeting with the Chief of Staff. We cannot thank Senators Emmerson and Roth enough for their leadership in helping get this bill where it is today.
The meeting went well and exceeded my expectations. Although we were not "handed a check," we did get a commitment from the Governor's staff to find a solution for our cities as well as providing for a mechanism for future incorporations and annexations in the state. Additionally, the staff committed to working with all parties to bring this to a resolution by the August/September time frame.
Prior to our meeting with the Chief of Staff, we found out that the Chair of the Senate Government & Finance Committee had placed SB 56 back on the agenda for a hearing on Wednesday, June 12 ... another positive signal that our bill has new life.
I will continue to keep you updated as SB 56 progresses to a vote and ultimately to the Governor's desk for signature. It would not surprise me if the bill changes between now and the time it gets voted on. However, I am more optimistic than ever that we may finally have the broad based bi-partisan support needed to get this ill signed and restore funds to Menifee and the other newly incorporated cities.
You may recall that Menifee lost $4 million annually in revenues from the state in 2011. This represented 17.5 percent of our General Fund Budget. As a result, while our operational budget is balanced, we have dipped into our reserves to make it balance. This is not sustainable over time.
Approval of SB 56 restores this lost revenue and provides the City with much-needed resources to add deputies to our law enforcement services agreement and to add staff in key departments to deliver services to our community. If you would like to help the cause, you can go to the City of Menifee's website and prepare a letter to send to your state representatives urging them to pass SB 56.
Thank you for all your support and I will keep you updated on the progress of this bill. Please feel free to share this message with your contacts.
Scott A. Mann
Mayor, City of Menifee
SB 56 Background
Senate Bill 56, sponsored by state senators Richard Roth (D-Riverside) and Bill Emmerson (R-Hemet), would use property tax revenue to restore millions of funds lost by Riverside County’s four newest cities: Jurupa Valley, Eastvale, Menifee, and Wildomar.
The money was lost when state lawmakers voted to divert vehicle-license revenues to local law enforcement grants in 2011. The cuts dealt a disproportionate blow to the newer cities like Jurupa Valley, which was incorporated just two days after the shift. Last summer, state lawmakers approved a measure which would have restored funding to new cities, but it was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown, who cited cost concerns. Last month, a Sacramento County judge ruled in favor of the state in a legal challenge against the license-fee shift.
SB 56 provides a solution to this and restores revenues to these four cities and puts them in an equal position with all other cities in the state.