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Jurupa Valley's survival is at stake due to the governor's veto

September 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
At just over a year old, Jurupa Valley is the state's newest city.

"I love it," said Jurupa Valley resident Lisa Dunn referring to the evident change she's witnessed as it's become an incorporated city.

The newest municipality has seen a 30 percent increase of sheriff's deputies on patrol, plus Dunn says things seem to get done much more quickly in the area.

"They're working on the road now, and I've seen less crime in our area," she said.

But while residents may have declared victory on the day this city incorporated, today, they might be closer to defeat.

Due to budget problems, lawmakers in Sacramento decided to redirect statewide vehicle license-fee revenue from cities to the state last year. For Jurupa Valley, that meant a 47 percent drop in revenues. Consequently, the city lost nearly $7 million.

"That was really a hard pill to swallow," said Jurupa Valley Councilman Verne Lauritzen.

In a step in the right direction, legislators agreed on a plan to give money back to the struggling cities.

Assembly Bill 1098 would have restored some of the revenue Riverside County's newest cities lost when legislators tapped into that funding. However, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the bill this week saying it "would create a hole in the general fund to the tune of $18 million... this is not acceptable."

"I think we were shocked, and disappointed, and angered, and frustrated when we saw the veto come through," said Jurupa Valley Mayor Laura Roughton. "It's discouraging, but we're not without hope."

Unless the legislature overrides the governor's veto, the only other options are to either ask residents to raise taxes or to disincorporate the city.

"I don't want to pay more taxes, but I kind of like it being its own city, so I don't really know," said Dunn.

The clock is ticking. City officials say they'll run out of money within the next year.

"We're still hoping that it can be done legislatively at the state level," said Roughton.

Unless something is done quickly about the city's dire financial state, Jurupa Valley might soon cease to exist.


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