Analysts predict extra money for recreation plan |

Analysts predict extra money for recreation plan

With interest rates reduced on Wednesday, analysts are predicting extra money could be available for the four-component recreational plan, approved in the Measure S election.

Mark Northcross, a financial analyst for the project is predicting low interest rates will create a surplus of up to $508,000, which could provide a financial safety net, if any projects exceed budget. Estimates for the ice rink and ball fields already fit that criteria, but members of the Measure S board are optimistic that the money will be available to pay for all the projects in their entirety.

Distribution of any excess money would need to be approved by all three Measure S representatives.

“I am more confident than ever that we will complete the ice rink as expected, and we have the money to do it,” said South Lake Tahoe Mayor Hal Cole, the city representative for the Measure S board.

John Upton, a consultant for the project, said the latest cost estimate for the 37,000 square-foot ice rink is $160,000 more than the original $3.8 million. However, Cole said a contractor could build the project for the original $3.8 million. Exact costs for the ice rink, however, will not be known until builders respond to bid proposals expected to go out as soon as March.

Estimates for the four ball fields are between $200,000 and $400,000 over the original $1.3 million, Upton said. But these figures include an additional 2,200 foot bicycle trail that would connect Al Tahoe Boulevard with the existing Lake Tahoe Community College trail and lights for the ball fields. Extra money was also taken into consideration, if the traffic study requires widening of the proposed South Tahoe Pubilic Utility District access road which would be used to access the fields.

Low interest rates could provide more than enough money for the recreational plan, but the exact amount of money available won’t be known until the sale of the bonds, expected to take place between Feb. 14 and 21.

Cole said any money left over could be used to pay down against the principal of the bonds.

The project includes the indoor ice rink, which is scheduled for completion next winter; ball fields scheduled for construction in 2002; improvements to Tahoe Paradise Resort Improvement District; and maintenance money for bicycle trails, which the California Tahoe Conservancy is expected to build over the next several years.

Break Out Box:

How to apply for the low-income discount:

Property owners who live at South Shore will be charged $18 annually for the next 30 years to fund recreational projects outlined in Measure S, which was approved by 69 percent of the voters.

But those who participate in the Home Energy Assistance/Reduced Rate Program through Sierra Pacific Power Company are eligible for the low-income discount, which reduces the tax to $9 a year. Written proof is necessary and the deadline this year is Jan. 16. To qualify for the discount, call El Dorado Community Services 573-3490. The deadline will be Jan. 1 in the following 29 years.

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