Budget, organizational fixes considered for city | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Budget, organizational fixes considered for city

Susan Wood

The future of South Lake Tahoe will face the City Council today in a workshop encompassing the upcoming budget, a reorganization and strategic planning.

“We have to come away with narrowing down what are priorities are,” Councilwoman Kathay Lovell summarized Sunday for the planning portion of the 9 a.m. meeting at the Tahoe Keys Marina.

The city is nearing the time when it will finalize a draft of its 2004-05 fiscal budget that starts Oct. 1. A month later, a sales tax measure designed to pad the city’s general fund will come before voters.

“The city must prepare for the prospect of having no new sales tax measure and no Measure Z revenues by 2006,” City Manager Dave Jinkens wrote in the workshop report. “City government must live within its means.”

The city’s general fund gains about $1 million annually from the $1.50 motel room fee, which expires in two years.

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If it passes, the sales tax measure is predicted to bring in $2 million.

Also on the list of prospective revenue boosters, fees for 911 calls are estimated to generate $450,000 a year.

A series of cuts have been proposed and will be discussed at the meeting set for 2435 Venice Drive East. These include $528,000 less for the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, $32,000 off the Clean Community program slate, $21,000 less due to the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce and $1.4 million coming out of operations.

Along those lines, department freezes will make the agenda. They are an assistant city manager slot that calls for $77,000 annually as well as the elimination of five firefighter posts and four police department positions.

Police and fire union negotiations appear to be in a holding pattern awaiting budget solutions.

As proposed in a report for today’s consideration, a reorganization may change the way the city does business.

Housing, which is now combined with economic development, would fall under the department where it gets most of its funding – redevelopment.

Economic development, in turn, would report directly to the city manager’s office.

The parks and recreation department may work under the auspices of community development.

Code enforcement may turn into a function of the police department. Lake Tahoe Airport operations may sit under the jurisdiction of public works.

Moreover, discussion will continue on the feasibility of combining fire services within the region.

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

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