$600,000 will go toward Measure S in first year | TahoeDailyTribune.com

$600,000 will go toward Measure S in first year

The South Tahoe Recreation Facilities Joint Powers Authority Thursday made official the tax approved by South Shore voters in the September election.

The Measure S tax will be $18 for single family property owners and will be on a sliding scale for businesses. The tax will be used to pay for an ice rink in South Lake Tahoe, multipurpose ball fields on and near Lake Tahoe Community College, improvements to Tahoe Paradise Resort Improvement District and will provide maintenance money for bike trails to be built by the California Tahoe Conservancy.

The JPA will collect about $602,000 in the first year, but staff aide John Upton said that figure could increase by $20,000 to $25,000 once the redevelopment projects are completed and begin paying the tax. The construction cost for all the projects is estimated at $5.3 million.

The city, the lead agency on the ice rink, is looking at ways to reduce the cost of the $3.8 million ice rink, which has exceeded its budget by $667,000. All bids have been rejected by the city, and through negotiation and value engineering staff hope to reduce the cost. City Council hopes to choose a new bidder at the Aug. 7 meeting.

The city, however, will have about $560,000 in contingency funds to make up for shortfalls, according to conservative estimates by Upton.

“From my point of view it was good news today,” said Hal Cole, vice chair of the board and the city’s representative. “The ice rink may be delayed, but it will get completed as planned.”

Cole said he was glad to find out how much extra funding is available for the ice rink, so the city can have a financial basis for negotiations.

“Now I can go back to my engineers and know what numbers I have to deal with,” Cole said.

City staff is negotiating with Spanda Industries, which was contracted to do the metal structure of the ice rink, to do the foundation. Other aspects of the ice rink are being evaluated to find less expensive substitutes for items such as the surrounding sidewalk, temperature controls and flooring.

The contingency fund for all projects is about $800,000 and is automatically divided among the projects in proportion to the project cost, unless otherwise decided by a unanimous vote by the three-member JPA board. The ice rink’s 72 percent share is the largest of all the projects.

The Tahoe Paradise Resort Improvement District plans to spend about $171,000 this year on improvements. The district has already begun landscaping and building a gazebo.

“I have heard a lot of positive feedback and the look of the park has really improved,” said Michael Clark, secretary of the JPA and the district’s representative.

Playground equipment is expected by fall and the board will also repave the roads. The district has qualified for a grant from the California Integrated Management Board for $45,000. The grant will be awarded for the playground equipment made of recycled metal and plastic.

“The district is thankful for the support from the community,” Clark said.

The time frame for the ball fields could be affected by the kind of environmental document the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency requires, said Shane Ryerson, parks and projects coordinator for El Dorado County. “The TRPA representatives made it sound like they wanted an (environmental assessment),” he said, which is the more in-depth environmental document.

Representatives from Field Turf made a presentation to the board to consider making one of the new ball fields out of artificial turf. The artificial turf, however, cost about four or five times as much as real grass, but representatives said the field would pay for itself in maintenance savings within five to 10 years.

“It’s a lot more than is budgeted; that’s for sure,” said Steve Weiss, park and recreation superintendent for the city of South Lake Tahoe.

Upton suggested the county, which is the lead agency on the ball fields, look into code amendments with the TRPA in case grant funding became available for the more expensive field.

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