The South Lake Tahoe City Council responded Tuesday to a June El Dorado County Grand Jury report critical of how the city handled financing issues at South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena.
The grand jury criticized the Measure S bond refinancing approved by the South Lake Tahoe Recreational Facilities Joint Powers Authority in January. The bonds were changed from tax-exempt to taxable under the refinancing plan. City officials encouraged the change in order to secure private operation of the ice arena as part of a wide-ranging cost-savings plan.
Among its recommendations regarding the refinancing, the grand jury found the city and the JPA should hold a special election to ask voters whether the ice arena should be privately managed.
In the legally required response approved by the council, the city said it would not hold a special election because it is not warranted and is not reasonable. Measure S did not specify whether the bonds are taxable or tax exempt, meaning there is no need for voters to approve the refinance, according to the council's response.
The City Council did agree to require council members and employees to include dates when signing documents, something that was part of the grand jury's recommendations and not a historic practice of the city.
In a separate investigation by the grand jury, the citizen's group recommended South Lake Tahoe review its services and look at ways to consolidate with El Dorado County.
The grand jury found there could be "substantial cost savings" if city and county services are consolidated, but did not include an estimated dollar amount.
Although the city is willing to consider consolidation of certain departments if the county shows interest, the council declined to undertake the recommended analysis, citing limited resources and the need for a outside consultant to complete the review.
Services would also be reduced under consolidation, according to the response.