The following article was acquired from The Press-Enterprise website and was written by David Downey.
Corona voters will consider sales tax increase, council term limits in November election
Corona voters will be asked in November if the sales tax in Riverside County’s third-largest city should rise by a penny on the dollar to raise $30 million a year for city services.
[Corona Mayor Jim] Steiner, a retired fire captain, said the additional revenue is needed to shore up public safety in the city of nearly 170,000 residents.
He said the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009 led Corona to sharply cut its police and fire departments, and staffing levels remain well below what they were before that period.
Also over the past decade, [city spokeswoman Cindy] Solis said, the Corona Fire Department has lost an aerial fire truck and a rescue squad vehicle, along with 18 firefighter positions.
“Obviously, when you cut, cut, cut you’re going to get slower response times,” Steiner said, saying the fire department is not currently meeting national guidelines.
“And that’s a problem,” he said.
According to a November 2019 audit of city fire operations conducted by Citygate Associates, none of Corona’s seven fire stations has an average response time approaching the 7-minute-30-second “best practice goal for an urban area.” The average citywide response time is 9:37.
Having more revenue would address those challenges, he said, as well as enable the city to “build a powerhouse economic development team” that can lure high-paying professional jobs and reduce the community’s dependency on commuting.