By Michael Armijo
Eastvale – The Eastvale City Council voted to amend it’s contract with the Riverside Sheriff’s Department (RSO), which will increase police presence to 10 deputies a day. The city council voted last month to also add an additional motorcycle officer which will increase traffic enforcement.
“Amendments to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department contract to increase staffing have been something that the city has done in a very incremental and conservative manner due to the negative impacts of the loss of our vehicle license fee revenue,” said Michele Nissen, City Manager for Eastvale.
Unfortunately, there is a waiting period for this to take effect due to the county-wide staffing shortage at RSO. City Manager Michele Nissen told the council at last month’s meeting it could take up to a year before the deputies are available. They have to recruit, hire, train, and deploy more officers, she said. But city officials are working on speeding up the process somehow.
The new cost could take about another $1 million dollars a year, but final costs are still being calculated. With the retail growth since the city’s incorporation in 2010, the city the sales tax revenue would contribute to these expenses. The city gets 1% of all sales tax generated from businesses within the city. This goes to the general fund. This is why it’s important to shop within city limits.
“Due to the passage of SB130 and the return of VLF revenue, we will now be able to revisit our law enforcement contract as was discussed during the fiscal year 17/18 budget workshops,” added Nissen. That source of revenue is the $4.3 million boost the city will receive from the vehicle license fee (VLF). The VLF funds were taken away by a last minute legislative bill from the governor a few years ago. The bill took away VLF funds from Eastvale and three other new cities. The city rallied and successfully reversed that bill and the state agreed to return the funds. VLF funds are paid in 2 bi-annual installments and it trails property tax so it’s paid in late January and late May (50% payment and then another 50%, totaling the $4.3M listed in the staff report). Sacramento isn’t returning any funds they already took ($19.3M from Eastvale) but they are going to start paying us our “fair share” of VLF revenue like all the other cities in CA. We will be treated equitably now, Nissen said.
“The City still lost approximately $19.3M which will not be returned but at least we will have VLF revenue moving forward which will allow us to better address the needs of our growing city,” added Nissen. The city now contracts for 90 patrol hours per day. The new agreement will be from 90 hours to 100 hours per day. PLUS a motorcycle officer, which is a dedicated position, and will be an addition to the 10 hours added.
To increase traffic officers and increase patrols has been a huge concern for the city and residents. Now that the city has been successful with so many retail developments (see “here we grow again” story on www.anapr.com) city services will be able to increase.
The city of Eastvale has contracted with RSO for police services since their incorporation. Without contracting with RSO to provide police services, the city would have to create their own police department. Cities like Corona, Chino, West Covina, Baldwin Park, and Los Angeles have their own police departments. Eastvale, like Jurupa Valley, Chino Hills, Diamond Bar, and Walnut all are considered “contract cities” and subcontract with county Sheriff departments. At this point, creating a city police department would not be a viable option for Eastvale.