$60 million budget full of cuts before Council | TahoeDailyTribune.com

$60 million budget full of cuts before Council

Susan Wood, Tribune staff writer

The South Lake Tahoe City Council is expected to pass its 2003-04 budget Tuesday, a $60 million financial blueprint for the town that may bring on more cuts in services and staff if the Legislature fails to come up with a supplement for a loss in vehicle license fees.

City and county governments receive money from the state through the Department of Motor Vehicles when vehicle owners register their cars.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pledged to the local jurisdictions to make up for the losses amounting to about $900,000 for the city. This is less optimistic since the last Council meeting.

“This would create a serious budget shortfall that would require further reductions in service and staffing in the near term,” City Manager Dave Jinkens wrote in a report dated Thursday.

The budget already shows a 5 percent reduction in most departments.

On the revenue side, a 50-cent hike in the transient occupancy tax may be approved Tuesday to provide $250,000 more to city coffers. The second tier of Measure Z triggered by “state funding cuts in any fiscal year exceeding $200,000” would go into effect Feb. 1.

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In addition, the Council may decide to support a parcel assessment that may raise snow removal fees.

As for other possible revenue generators, the Council could enter into an agreement with Era Helicopter to run a touring company based at the airport. Airport Manager Mike Dikun estimates the service could bring between $48,000 to $83,700 a year to the airport.

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