Vacation Rentals

The Board of Supervisors appointed a subcommittee composed of supervisors Jeff Stone (3rd District) and Bob Buster (1st District) to review the ideas for a proposed vacation home rental ordinance. The ordinance under consideration would apply to and regulate vacation homes being rented out by individual owners, not by management companies that are already county regulated.

The subcommittee is to report back to the board at its Aug. 28 meeting.

Stone has said the demand for overnight stays in the wine country exceeds the number of official rooms available. The noise and volume of renters has become a problem for neighbors of rental homes in other parts of the county.

“There’s no oversight,” he said. Stone was sensitive to the potential growing demand on the Hill during events such as the Lemon Lily and Jazz festivals.

“We want uniform enforcement, but need to be careful we’re not inhibiting business in the county because three percent are not following the rules,” he stressed.

Stone also emphasized that he felt there were other solutions such as better code enforcement before a new ordinance might be needed.

Audit of Auditor
On June 11, the 2011-12 Riverside County grand jury submitted a review of the county’s Auditor-Controller’s Internal Audit Division to the County Executive Officer. The general observation was the division does not have enough staff to comply with or complete all of its mandates.

The recent audit history of the Idyllwild Fire Protection District was the specific example of how the Audit Division is not serving the county’s special districts.

“The Audit Division is not proactively pursuing delinquent audits for special districts, thereby placing at risk the fiduciary responsibility of these special district boards that are accountable to taxpayers,” the grand jury reported. While IFPD has compete audits through fiscal year 2010-11, the grand jury pointed out that some districts were “habitually delinquent, as much as two to five years in conducting their mandated annual audits.”

However, the grand jury then criticized the board and IFPD. “In the case of one special district, IFPD, the management discussion and analysis were omitted from the report to the Audit Division at the request of the special district board.”

According to the grand jury, this omission violated Government Accounting Standard board statement no. 34, “the rights of taxpayers to know the financial status of their district.”

The grand jury recommended additional staff for the Audit Division. Also the division should issue reminder letters for audits within six months of the end of the fiscal year, a second letter in April and a final reminder no later than June 15.

County Property Assessments
For the first time in three years, property values in Riverside County are relatively stable compared to the previous year, the Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder announced today.

Overall, the value of assessed property in Riverside County declined by less than 1 percent for fiscal year 2012-13, a $299 million reduction in the countywide assessment roll. The roll for the fiscal year beginning July 1 closed with a total taxable value of $204.8 billion, relatively unchanged from $205.1 billion a year ago.

No community had a change in value greater than 5 percent. Declines continue in some areas.

Under state law, temporary assessment reductions may be made based on a property’s value on Jan. 1 of each year. Ward said his office continues to review individual properties for potential reductions in value, which can affect property taxes. The review is a critical process in completing the assessment roll.

Beginning July 15, Riverside County property owners will be able to view their 2012-13 roll value online at Properties can be searched by address or parcel number. Value-notice letters will not be mailed this year but owners without access to the Internet may call the assessor’s office at (951) 955-6200 to obtain the information.

Property owners who disagree with their property’s assessed value may file a free decline-in-value application online. Applications are due by Sept. 4 and are available at

Property owners disputing the value set by the Assessor’s office may file an appeal with the Riverside County Clerk of the board between July 2 and Nov. 30. An application for changed assessment (appeal) is available on the clerk of the board’s website at

County Trail construction
The agenda for the July 3 board meeting included a recommendation from Scott Bangle, director of the Riverside County Regional Park and Open-Space District.

He proposed to expand the county trail system, including a connector trail between McCall Park and Hurkey Creek Park on the Hill. The estimated cost is $500,000.

Other trail additions include Lake Skinner Trail to both Diamond Valley Lake and the Temecula Valley Wine Country trails, Temecula Creek Trail and Salt Creek Trail.