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Menifee parks takeover hinges on decision Thursday

By in Press Enterprise on July 21, 2017

By Michael Williams

Menifee’s 18-month quest to gain control over parks on the city’s east side could be fulfilled by early next year if a regional commission endorses the move Thursday, July 27.

The staff of the Riverside Local Agency Formation Commission is recommending the city take over management of the 22 parks and recreation facilities within Menifee that are under the Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District’s jurisdiction.

After Menifee became a city in 2008, it inherited control from the county of a handful of parks on the community’s west side.

The remaining parks outside of the county’s former control are under Valley-Wide. Headquartered in San Jacinto, Valley-Wide has been the agency in charge of recreation in a vast area ranging from San Jacinto and Hemet to the east to Interstate 215 and Menifee to the west since the district was formed more than 25 years ago.

Reasoning that the city’s Community Services Department should administer all public recreational features within Menifee’s boundaries, council members agreed in February 2017 to go forward with the process of obtaining them, which required them to apply to the commission in charge of approving government boundary alterations.

“In my opinion, it legitimizes the city and the department’s purpose to provide local control and local services to our residents, instead of them having to receive their services from an entity that’s based out of San Jacinto,” department Director Robert Lennox said in an interview Friday.

While the commissioners have been sympathetic to the change, the process, labeled a detachment, is complicated because the district raises tax revenue from residents both within Menifee and Valley-Wide’s boundaries to finance maintenance and landscaping of the facilities in the city.

Also, district and city officials have disagreed about some of the expense and revenue calculations involved in the transfer. District General Manager Dean Wetter said his agency’s board of […]    

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