…. IN AN ANTI-TAX POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT
If only the Wildomar City Council had chosen to run a simple parcel tax in June 2011, thereby eliminating the opposition to the self-imposed stigma of a Mello Roos/Community Facilities District. Had they done so, it is likely that Measure D would have been successful. (But then, if my aunt had a mustache, she’d be my uncle).
Intending to be true to my words spoken before the Wildomar City Council last Wednesday evening, I will not oppose the upcoming $28 per year parcel tax, which is likely to be authorized at the July 2012 City Council meeting.
The underlying premise of my previous promotion and support for a simple parcel tax, was that it was the “easiest sell” as a replacement tax for the tax maintenance assessment that was struck down by the Appeals Court. Unfortunately for the citizens of Wildomar, the City Council squandered their best opportunity to have an ongoing funding mechanism for parks.
Now they’re going to have to do something different to regain the political momentum for the upcoming election.
Quite naturally, I have a suggestion for them. (“Re-Thinking Wildomar; Doing Better With Less”)
Back in the 1980s, I was the top listing Realtor for all of the ERA Realty franchise’s of Central California, selling real estate in the beautiful community of Visalia, California.
My particular niche was to go after “expired listings,” by fearlessly and personally contacting frustrated homeowners, whose homes had been on the market for months without selling, due to a recessionary economic environment.
I was able to re-list their homes with a promise to re-energize interest in their home in a variety of ways, primarily through a reduction in price.
In the same manner, the Wildomar City Council could re-energize political support for the upcoming parcel tax by reducing the amount requested, for the following reasons:
1) If the new measure is successful, there will be more parcels “taxed” than in the previous assessment.
According to Assistant City Manager, Gary Nordquist, this revealing admission; “The parcel tax would generate in the ballpark of $330,000, which is still greater than the approximately $225,000 needed to fund parks’ maintenance.”
The additional monies is simply from an increase in the number of parcels which will be taxed under the new measure.
Based on the above, the Wildomar City Council could, and should, reduce the requested amount by approximately 32%, asking owners to approve a parcel tax in the range of $19-$20 per year.
2) The costs allocated to parks could, and should be, significantly reduced.
Again according to Nordquist, during his PowerPoint presentation at last week’s Special Council meeting, he used old and outdated budget numbers for park maintenance, such as $122,000 per year for Marna O’Brien, and and $35,000 each, for Windsong Park and Heritage Regency Park.
These numbers included the cost for a contract vendor to provide services as Community Services Director in the specific amount of $24,000.
However, with the creation of the Community Services Manager employee position, those previously-contracted services will be absorbed in the proposed $60,000-$70,000 salary for the new position, of which parks oversight will be a smaller, allocable budget item for an exempt, salaried employee.
Overall, the parks budget could, and should, be reduced by approximately another 12%.
As a result, the Wildomar City Council could, and should, reduce the amount requested in the new parcel tax to as little as $17.50 per parcel.
The immediate benefit of proposing a smaller parcel tax would be the positive public relations opportunities that will be provided to the pro-park proponents, who will have to be the city’s surrogates for the measure and should enable the proponents to gain a 66 2/3% majority vote on November 06, 2012.
Just like an old and tired real estate listing, if you put it back on the market, you have to do something different.
And nothing garners people’s attention better than a price reduction.
Comments can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I know that Nordquist can “sharpen his pencil,” if so directed by the City Council.
Greedy politicians and bureaucrats ultimately created the Tea Party movement.