City approves street replacement projects; Electric vehicle plan

Laney Griffo

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The South Lake Tahoe City Council on Tuesday approved a $3 million road improvement project.

The projects include repaving Lake Tahoe Boulevard in the southbound lanes from the city limits to the “Y” intersection, all of Spruce Ave and Pioneer Trail to Blackwood Ave.

The Lake Tahoe Boulevard and Spruce Ave parts of the project already had funding allocated but the Pioneer Trail section required an additional $2 million be moved from the general fund. That $2 million was part of the money raised through Measure S.

The council also took a first step in addressing many of the city’s worst drainage issues, some of which have caused the degradation of roads.

Many neighborhoods in South Lake Tahoe were built before the city was incorporated in 1965. Because of that, those neighborhoods weren’t built with the proper drainage infrastructure or easements for the city to fix the drainage. In addition, there are metal pipes that have a lifespan of 10 to 35 years, so many of those pipes are well past their expiration date.

Staff asked for $35,000 to hire a consultant to complete a condition assessment which will help staff create a replacement plan for the pipes. Council also approved $35,000 to acquire easements.

Council also heard a presentation on the electric vehicle transition plan. On October 20, 2020, the city council approved the Climate Action Plan to help meet city and statewide greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals.

One way to help reduce GHG is by replacing the city’s vehicle fleet with electric vehicles. The first phase of the 5-year replacement plan will focus on eight light weight vehicles. The cost of vehicle replacement will cost about $345,000 and infrastructure costs to support the vehicles will be about $300,000.

However, those costs will not need to be paid all at once or immediately and many grants do exist for vehicle replacements and infrastructure.

As technology improves, staff will continue to update the plan to replace larger vehicles.

Capital Improvements Project Manager Jim Marino said they’ve estimated that the vehicles would cost about $10 to charge versus the estimated $80 it would cost to fill up on gas. Councilmember John Friedrich also pointed out that the vehicles would need to be replaced no matter what.

In addition, the council approved the purchase of a Tesla Model 3 AWD. The purchase of the vehicle plus the infrastructure required to support the vehicle would cost the city nearly $60,000. Friedrich recused himself from that agenda item.

The city will start accepting applications for events, now that the county has transitioned into the orange tier. Applicants must prove they can be compliant with state health guidelines.

Finally, council approved one-time $2,500 COVID-19 hazard payments to police, fire and community services officers. The money is left over from the COVID-19 Small Business Sustainability Loan funds.

“We are happy to acknowledge the hard and dangerous work of our first responders during the pandemic,” said Mayor Wallace. “They have gone into situations that most of the rest of us would not during this medical crisis and I, for one, am grateful they were there to protect and serve our community. This ‘hazard pay’ is only one way for us to show our appreciation.”

The next meeting will be held April 27. It will be a joint meeting with El Dorado County supervisors to discuss 56 Acres.

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