Last week, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors approved the Idyllwild Fire Protection District’s request for an advance of its December property tax revenue.
The district submitted the request for $400,000 in June and the board unanimously approved it. This is the third consecutive year IFPD has needed to obtain an advance to help it through the fall period. Each year, the request has declined from the original amount of $450,000 in 2011.
“This has been the past practice of the board for a number of years,” said Idyllwild Fire Chief Patrick Reitz.
“The amount is going down every year as the economy recovers; also, as we have changed things within our system to better business practices,” Reitz said.
Reitz added that he is optimistic the advance will eventually no longer be needed as the district and economy improve.
“Long-term — that is the goal,” he said. The possibility of a cell tower on the station site, with its rental payment, will be a significant contribution for future reserves, he explained.
In other action, supervisors approved two local emergencies as a result of the Mountain Fire. Besides the Mountain Fire’s direct damage, the board added recent and future potential flood damages to the county’s request for recovery funds.
The county is seeking assistance to recoup the costs for suppressing the Mountain Fire and flooding, which may result from vegetation damage. Other costs associated with the fire include evacuations, shelters, law enforcement personnel, county roads and animal services.
The proclamations ask for relief for these expenses through a presidential declaration, Small Business Administration disaster declaration and California Disaster Assistance Act funds.
On July 19, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an emergency proclamation for the fire. The county has also requested a governor’s proclamation for the second emergency pertaining to flooding.
The July 30 board actions ratify proclamations previously issued when the board was not in session. A county ordinance empowers Riverside County’s director of emergency services to proclaim the local emergency when warranted and necessitated by conditions of extreme peril, subject to subsequent board confirmation.
Riverside County Office of Emergency Services is asking business owners to estimate their economic loss from the Mountain Fire. Forms are available at the Idyllwild Town Crier & Visitors Center and online at idyllwildtowncrier.com/2013/08/01/businesses-asked-to-fill-out-economic-loss-survey-for-mountain-fire/.