It was announced Wednesday, August 17, that five candidates submitted their paperwork and qualified to run for City Council in the November election. They are Jordan Ehrenkranz, Larry Greene, Randall P. Bonner, George Middle and David Eilers. Jordan is the only incumbent on the list. Three seats are up for election. Of the other candidates, the only one who hasn’t previously served on City Council or the CLPOA Board of Directors is Larry Greene.
As citizens consider those who are running for City Council, questions may come to mind. Will this new Council be the one to see a breakthrough in Public Safety funding; or is it possible they will see bankruptcy and/or disincorporation of the City, with possible annexation to a neighboring city?
To be clear, the City Council is not considering either option at this time; just seeking information. George Spiliotis, executive officer for the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), gave an informational presentation to City Council on the subject of disincorporation several weeks ago.
With such an important subject on the table, citizens may want to take a closer look at this year’s Council candidates and find out where they stand on the subject of disincorporation. Do they believe it’s an option the City should strongly consider, or an option the City should strongly avoid until there are no other options available? What do they see as the advantages and/or disadvantages of disincorporation?
Other questions to ask? The consulting company, ESCI, recommended that, before the City chooses any option for fire services, elected officials and staff need to establish strategies to address and secure long-term financial resources. How important is the current Utility User Tax (UUT) to Canyon Lake’s ability to pay for public safety now and in the future?
If the candidate deems continuance of the UUT necessary, how confident are they that voters will approve it or similar tax when the current UUT sunsets in 2020? Under what conditions (e.g. opening Station 60) do they believe citizens would approve a new tax?
Due to the so-far prohibitive costs of staying with CalFire/Riverside County Fire in the future, the City Council has been looking into a Joint Powers Authority with neighboring cities for fire and police protection. With uncertainty about voter approval of such a tax, how strong is Canyon Lake’s position in negotiating a JPA with neighboring cities for fire and police protection?
What about the potential of developing BLM land within the City’s sphere of influence in order to bring in more property taxes? And what if the City disincorporates and no longer has a sphere of influence over the BLM properties adjacent to Canyon Lake’s northern boundaries?
Bottom Line: citizens will want to attend upcoming candidate forums to see if Council candidates are doing their homework.