Moreno Valley investing $5.5 million in public safety, beautification – San Bernardino Sun

Fueled by millions of dollars in sales tax revenue from industrial businesses, Moreno Valley is taking steps to bolster the ranks of law enforcement and firefighters, enhance homeless service programs, and fund infrastructure and beautification projects.

The City Council on Feb. 1 earmarked $5.5 million from its first quarter budget to launch the city’s Public Safety and Beautification & Quality of Life Initiatives. A large chunk of the funding will be used to create dozens of new jobs in various city departments, add a park ranger and cover the costs for an additional squad of Riverside County firefighters and three more county sheriff’s deputies.

“Our residents and businesses have said that public safety and city beautification are among their top priorities, and this investment signals that we are continuing to keep Moreno Valley a safe and wonderful place to live,” Mayor Yxstian Gutierrez said Friday in an email.

He said the funding also covers 25 jobs opening up in the city’s public works, parks and community services, and community enhancement departments.

“And we’ve already started the recruitment process. We’re hitting the ground running to fill these positions as soon as possible,” Gutierrez said.

The new fire squad, Gutierrez said, will get its own engine and equipment and augment the busiest fire station in the city.

“Our residents should see enhanced public safety response times, and I think they’ll also see that our parks and streets will continue to be beautifully maintained well into the future,” Gutierrez said Friday.

The city also will form a clinical behavioral assessment team comprising sheriff’s deputies and a mental health clinician.

About half the budget for the initiatives — $2.8 million — will be dedicated to hiring parks, public works and community enhancement staff and purchasing equipment for the projects, Gutierrez said.

“There’s a correlation between bolstering your public safety and city beautification initiatives and bolstering your business and recreational climates,” Gutierrez said. “I believe this investment will have a direct and positive impact on many different parts of Moreno Valley life, including our businesses.”

City spokesman Matthew Bramlett said the improvements will be citywide and not focus on any one particular area.

“These staffers, once hired, will go out throughout the city to beautify our parks, maintain our streets, and make sure Moreno Valley continues to be a great place to live. Our focus is citywide,” Bramlett said.

Asked to provide a list of the industrial businesses that generated the additional sales tax revenue to fund the projects and additional staffing, Bramlett declined. He said sales tax information is confidential under the Revenue and Taxation Code, and he therefore is precluded from releasing the information.

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