Snow removal fees could pile up, but not for a while | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Snow removal fees could pile up, but not for a while

Susan Wood

A hike in the parcel fee to pay for South Lake Tahoe-area snow removal equipment is stalled until the city and El Dorado County can agree on the rate and structure of the program.

Talk between the city and county of at least a 50 percent increase on the $20 annual parcel fee has come up as the city’s fleets of blowers and graders continue to age while staff is forced to be creative in getting parts and fixing the vehicles.

The city experienced a few breakdowns this winter.

Both local governments disagree on the cost and benefit ratio of an engineering study contracted with transportation consulting firm Fehr & Peers for $38,000 to determine the parcel rate for residential and commercial property owners. They were aiming for the South Shore Snow Zone increase to go before the voters in the community service area in March.

“For the time being, we have to re-examine the issue. It’s on hold for a while,” City Manager Dave Jinkens said Sunday.

Meanwhile, the city hopes the equipment – some of which dates back 35 years – continues to perform during the winter. Crews have been known to wait a month or two for replacement parts to come in because they’re hard to find.

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For example, blowers cost about $250,000 each. That’s $28,300 more than the amount the city pulls in annually from its 11,085 parcels. Under a Joint Powers Agreement, the annual parcel fee is added to property tax bills. The assessment was made 21 years ago in the county and 15 years ago within the city limits.

The City Council will host its annual public hearing on the matter at 9 a.m. Tuesday in chambers to continue the current parcel fee rate.

Also on the agenda, the council will discuss implementing a 2005 community survey and a town hall meeting this summer.

In addition, Charter Communications will present an update to cable service for the city, which has a franchise agreement with the company.

– Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at swood@tahoedailytribune.com

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