Kevin’s Corner February 2024 - Volume 12, Issue 2
Is The Tax Ballot Measure coming? If you have been following the actions of the (independent) Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC), then you have an inkling that a new Riverside County sales tax proposal is swirling around waiting for the RCTC commission (1 rep from each city and all 5 county supervisors) to decide if the November 2024 ballot will contain a proposed sales tax increase to help fund freeway and highway improvements (and a bunch of other related items). To learn a little more about the proposal, look at The Press Enterprise article linked here https://www.pressenterprise.com/2024/01/19/riverside-county-voters-could-be-asked-to-tax-themselves-for-better-roads/
Keep The Funds in the Community! With a county as large as ours containing so many unincorporated (non-city) communities (totaling roughly 400,000 residents), when most new developments occur, they are required to make typical infrastructure improvements in front of their projects, such as full street paving, curbs, sidewalks, etc. However, on some occasions when the cost of this infrastructure exceeds the ability of a single developer to pay for it, the builder is allowed to NOT build some of it and can instead pay “cash in-lieu” into a county fund to account for their share of the impact. The fund is then used to fund improvements at a later date, as other development comes in around it. When our office could not find a Board of Supervisors policy on the use of these funds, we did some peeking behind the curtain. Early estimates are that $10.6 million to $13.6 million has been collected over the last 20 years - but it’s not clear for what or where much of the money has been spent (leaving $4 million in the fund). Because we have so many infrastructure projects that have needed additional funding, we really don’t have any reason to believe that any skullduggery has occurred, we just need to make sure that full transparency and fairness is always front and center. Funds collected in the Temescal Valley should generally remain in that valley, and the same for Highgrove, and Mead Valley, and French Valley, etc, etc. I’m happy to announce that on January 30th, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an item created by my office and the 2nd District to keep these funds where they were collected.
The Countdown –The Countdown – I still have 10 months before I pack everything up and ride off into the sunset (and no, I am not letting my critics start packing early for me), but I am undeniably starting to feel time starting to run out. It’s not yet adversely impacting my ability to finalize efforts or get improvements underway or see certain policy changes implemented before I leave – but it’s likely coming. But aside from those larger issues, much of what we (our office & staff) do on a daily basis is run interference for individual residents and small business owners. Each County Supervisor has roughly 500,000 residents (plus thousands of local businesses), and we can easily have a dozen or more people asking for help each business day on any item you can imagine (building permits, restaurant inspections, economic / business assistance, housing needs, social services, roads, sheriff reports, jails, agriculture, animal control, veterans’ services – with 40+ departments, the list goes on. Our office will continue until the last day advocating for our residents and small businesses. Being a County Supervisor is arguably one of the best non-partisan political jobs in the State of California. You can accomplish a LOT for the residents, but the position also comes with a lot of political perks and authority. It is incredibly important that whoever fills these 5 seats NOT be seduced by the position and not feel they are entitled to always hold it. The first election to fill my seat will be held on March 5th.
Volunteer to Plan: Our county is entering what is called an 8 year General Plan Cycle, which is when the county starts making longer term plans for which land uses should exist in which places. As part of that, developers may ask the county to change the “Foundation” elements of the current county General Plan to allow a specific project to be considered in an area that had previously been designated for a different land use. To help with that process, the Board of Supervisors appoints a citizen General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC) to review those requests. In the last cycle in 2016, there were 32 Foundation change requests. I am looking for an applicant who would be willing to promptly serve on the GPAC. Applicants should be a 1st District resident, and must reside in one of the unincorporated communities (e.g. Good Hope, Mead Valley, Meadowbrook, Highgrove, University City), preferably with experience in land development, construction, real estate, transportation, landscaping, or entitlement processing. It is not yet known how many meetings will be involved, but probably four or more. If you are interested in applying or want more information, please contact Tom Ketcham in my office at [email protected] or 951-955-1010. (Please see page 3 for more details on the foundation change process).
In closing - I want to briefly mention the passing of a very classy lady who spoke softly but always carried a big stick to help make necessary community changes and fight for her city. She was a great friend to hundreds if not thousands in and around Riverside. My condolences to the family of Ofelia Valdez-Yeager. She was a true community servant who didn’t care much for being in the limelight but always fought to make things better. RIP.
First District Supervisor
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