swath south of the city that contains the hotly-debated Liberty Quarry mine site.
But public attention Tuesday night mainly centered on two areas examined in the Hoffman report: the urbanized Silverhawk tract at Temecula’s northeast corner and the estate-home dotted hillside and ridgeline on the city’s western flank.
“We’re very optimistic,” said David Lander, who together with other Silverhawk residents began pressing the city for annexation about two years ago. “I do think we’re all on the same wavelength. We’re all on the same page.”
They have lobbied for annexation to gain police rather than sheriff’s patrols and planning, public works and other city services that are perceived to be better than those provided by Riverside County. Surrounding residents also often cite the desire to attend local government meetings and interact with agencies and departments that are closer than existing county offices in the city of Riverside.
Longtime Temecula resident Wayne Hall urged the council to soon annex the hillsides and ridgelines that dominate the area’s valley vistas.
“We need to do something quickly,” Hall said. “We’re losing our view. Can you imagine that area speckled with houses?”
While many residents have annexation hopes for the two districts, financial conditions are vastly different for the two areas.
The area identified as the “escarpment” would bring the city a surplus of $75,000 a year if annexed today and about $88,000 annually when all the anticipated growth occurs in that rectangular swath.
A westward expansion into the hills west of Old Town would mesh with a longstanding Temecula policy, which was reiterated by the council and staff Tuesday night, that future annexations cannot drain city coffers.
But Silverhawk’s financial picture, as well as the Morgan Hill tract at the city’s southeast corner, would test that policy.
The financial drain that Silverhawk would put on city services could total $791,000 annually today, according to the report. That shortfall would drop to $428,000 a year when growth ebbs in that community near Winchester and Murrieta Hot Springs roads.
The deficit for Morgan Hill, which is east of Vail Ranch, would total about $416,600 a year when most of the anticipated growth occurs there.
When all six potential annexation areas are combined, Temecula would reap about a $3 million annual surplus when most of the growth occurs within the 50-square-mile expanded city boundary, the report said.
The council took no action Tuesday night on the report. Mayor Chuck Washington said the challenges of running a city of 150,000 residents could be “daunting,” but he was generally upbeat in his remarks to the audience.
“I want to move in that direction. I want all our neighbors to be part of Temecula,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s time right now, but it might be something in our near future.”
The 30-square-mile city currently spends about $65.7 million a year on police, fire protection, planning, public works and other key services for its 98,000 residents.
The report said the examined 20-square-mile area, much of it in a belt of unincorporated land the city could someday annex, is currently home to nearly 33,000 residents. Another 14,000 people are expected to move there as future homes are built over the next 15 to 20 years.
The potential annexation area, not including the proposed granite mine and the adjacent Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve, extends to the ridgeline west of the city, the San Diego County line to the south and a huge swath of French Valley that takes in an airport along Winchester Road. It does not include the Wine Country.
Most of the future jobs in the proposed annexation area would come from current and future and industrial areas around and approaching French Valley Airport. Employment in the proposed annexation area would eventually grow from about 3,660 jobs now to more than 23,500, according to the report.
The report notes that a wrinkle in state law – the ability to receive state vehicle license fees without seeking new legislation – creates a financial advantage for potential annexations to occur before July 2009.