I am responding to the letter from the new Town Hall employee, Susan Swanson [in the Nov. 17 issue of the Town Crier]. I agree with her that the children are our most important asset. I created and implemented the Forest Friends Preschool at Town Hall in 2005. I have been teaching children for over 25 years. I am confident that all of our local staff at Town Hall are doing a wonderful job, and our local children are happy at Town Hall.
That is not what my concerns are about at Town Hall. It is the takeover from the County of Riverside, and the lack of communication and transparency between our community and the county.
Over the past 40 years, Town Hall has been successfully run by locals. Over the past 40 years, local assessment taxes have accrued to over $300,000 in our reserve account.
Prior to the County takeover, the Town Hall yearly budget was due and submitted on the desk of Bill Brown at the Riverside County EDA, six months in advance of the July 1 start of the fiscal year.
Since the county took over Town Hall on Aug. 1, 2011, we still have not seen August through November’s revenue and expense monthly budgets or the fiscal budget. We know that over $12,000 was spent on three summer field trips not including staffing costs. We know that one or two Town Hall employees have not been paid since they started three months ago. We know that most soccer coaches were not fingerprinted. We know that the Town Hall playground and building have not had a written inspection.
Where is our tax money going? These are important issues that do affect our precious local children, staff, community members and future recreation programs for all of us.
In the past the Town Hall Director would first report to either Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce, or ICRC. Then the Town Hall Director would report to the County Service Area 36 Advisory Committee and the County of Riverside in a public meeting with the monthly budget and Director’s report.
My question to the community is who oversees the County of Riverside since they took over Idyllwild Town Hall and it’s budget and finances?
Editor’s note: On May 12 and then again on June 7 at a special joint meeting, the CSA 36 Advisory Committee and the ICRC board met and discussed the fiscal year 2011-12 budget priorities.