The terms of three members of County Service Area 36 Advisory Committee expired June 30, 2018, but no one noticed. Upon discovering that their terms had expired, Riverside County 3rd District Supervisor Chuck Washington’s Legislative Assistant Opal Hellweg said the supervisor would reappoint those desiring continued service and would advertise for committee vacancies. The Board of Supervisors will reappoint the members on Tuesday, Jan. 15, according to Hellweg.

The Town Crier notified Washington’s office of the expiration of three of the committee members — constituting a quorum — this month. The three whose terms expired are Chair John Metroka Jr., Mark Garrett and Peter Szabadi. David Hunt’s term expires June 30, 2019, and the other position has been vacant since Ted Janka’s resignation in the summer of 2017.

Despite the expirations, members met in October 2018, supporting a position taken by Szabadi that arm’s length oversight of recreation spending was needed and should continue. Szabadi stated this in view of Washington’s pending plan to disband the committee.

Szabadi said it was vitally important to have a public forum with a third-party oversight committee to review how tax dollars are being spent, consider whether current recreation offerings by the recreation manager were enough and to hear from the public about desired changes in recreation offerings.

A decision was made by the committee at the October meeting to recommend to the supervisor to continue the service of the committee, but no date was then set for the next meeting.

Property owners within the boundaries of the CSA 36 pay a mandatory $35 per parcel property tax that helps fund community recreation currently managed by the San Jacinto Mountain Community Center (the Idyllwild Community Center). Yearly, parcel taxes and property tax account for about $190,000 in recreation funding.

The CSA meetings, like many public meetings, suffer from lack of attendance even though most people would normally want a voice in how their tax dollars are being spent. Had the CSA been disbanded, the supervisor and staff thought interested community members could instead attend ICC meetings, only to discover at the October meeting that the recreation management board does not hold regular open meetings. ICC President Janice Lyle noted open meetings could be held in the future, if needed.

The meetings also appear in the Idyllwild Town Crier’s Community Calendar, as are all local government meetings.

So back to square one, with a CSA 36 Advisory Committee meeting scheduled for late January, assuming enough committee members agree to serve, are re-appointed ahead of the meeting and show up for a quorum.

Attendees at the October meeting noted that publication of the meetings was insufficient and that more should be done to acquaint the community with meeting dates and times, with the purpose of the committee, and to invite CSA 36 residents for their input and oversight. 

Mike Franklin, County Economic Development Agency CSA project manager, observed that in the past, the county had funded ads in the Town Crier to inform the public of upcoming CSA 36 Advisory Committee meetings and that that practice could be revived. Hellweg confirmed that ads would be placed announcing the meetings.

According to Metroka, the next meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, at Town Hall. “We will have a quorum,” said Metroka, inviting all district residents interested in recreation to attend and participate.