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Wildomar allocates new state funds to reserve, police patrols

By in Press Enterprise on February 15, 2018

By David Downey

Wildomar is going to use new state money to beef up police patrols, build its financial reserve and for assorted projects including buying equipment that will allow for streaming and recording city meetings.

The Wildomar City Council voted unanimously Wednesday night, Feb. 14, to approve a $2.39 million package of expenditures recommended by City Manager Gary Nordquist for the remainder of the fiscal year, which runs through June. The increase brings the city’s total budget for 2017-18 to about $13 million.

The single biggest item entails stashing $1.07 million away in reserve, nearly doubling the total in savings to $1.94 million or about 15 percent of the budget.

The package also sets the stage for boosting the community’s police presence by 75 percent, increasing the current 40 hours a day of patrol time provided under contract with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department to 70 hours each day. Nordquist said the increased patrols would begin in April or May.

With the increase coming relatively late in the budget year, the city anticipates spending $400,000 extra for police protection over the next few months, Nordquist said. Then going forward, Wildomar would spend an additional $2 million annually, increasing the total police budget from $3 million to $5 million.

Councilman Dustin Nigg floated the idea of putting a little less into reserve and a little more into police protection. But other council members said the city needed to commit to a 15 percent reserve, with uncertain financial times possibly lurking around the corner, and couldn’t afford to increase patrols more.

Wildomar Councilwoman Marsha Swanson speaks at Wednesday’s City Council meeting, as Mayor Ben Benoit looks on.

“I think we need to start off slow,” said Councilwoman Marsha Swanson, urging colleagues to stick with Nordquist’s plan. “Let’s just take baby steps to start with.”

And Mayor Ben Benoit said, “I’d like to […]    

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