California’s newest city withering on fiscal vine

Jurupa Valley in Riverside County lost millions when lawmakers tapped funds earmarked for cities last year. ‘Our survival is at stake,’ the mayor says.

Laura Roughton, mayor of Jurupa Valley, stands in front of City Hall, situated in a shopping mall. The city lost $6.8 million in state funds, or 47% of its yearly $14.6-million budget.

The jagged foothills, withered pastures and a web of horse trails along the Santa Ana River give the state’s newest city a hint of the Wild West. Jurupa Valley’s money troubles, though, are pure modern-day California.

Jurupa Valley may be broke in a year, even though the city is so new that it has no permanent employees, no generous employee pension plan and runs City Hall out of a leased strip-mall storefront next to the Lucky Wok Chinese restaurant.

Without a financial rescue, the city will have to shut its doors, sending the mishmash of Jurupa Valley communities back into the ether of unincorporated Riverside County.

Unlike San Bernardino, Stockton and Mammoth Lakes, California cities that have all reached the brink of insolvency in recent weeks, Jurupa Valley’s money troubles are not of its own making. They are Sacramento’s fault.


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