City budget hearings begin |

City budget hearings begin

Susan Wood

The city appears poised to restore subsidies to two marketing arms, add two police officers, replace snow removal equipment, fund the Tahoe Valley Community Plan and significantly increase the street repair budget.

These are some of the $8.2 million in items requested in the proposed 2006-07 city budget to be discussed at today’s meeting at 9 a.m. The fiscal budget, which is due to be adopted Oct. 1, would amount to $87.6 million in expenditures involving operations and capital improvement programs.

Recommended items include:

— $840,000 for the joint government center plan involving El Dorado County and the Lake Tahoe Unified School District on district land off Al Tahoe Boulevard.

— $207,000 for airport terminal and airfield repairs.

— $95,000 to replace a dump truck.

— $343,000 in a variety of capital improvement projects.

— $24,503 for a half-time administrative clerk in the building division.

— $28,075 for a half-time Human Resources Department clerk.

— $40,000 for council chambers equipment.

— $79,310 for another building inspector.

— $130,434 for two street maintenance workers to help work on city roads, which are getting a $1.1 million boost in funding this coming year.

The latter has undergone a roller-coaster ride of funding losses and replenishments in the last five years. At its lowest point, the overlay program was zeroed out in a few years ago. It increased to $200,000 – substantially lower than the usual $2 million that kept the streets from a deconstructive breakdown.

The city had hired a consultant who recommended a system to help prioritize the roads in terms of maintenance. Alligator cracks and potholes are commonplace along the South Shore. But some cracks and holes have gotten so wide and deep, grass has been growing in them. Street repair has been identified as a huge priority to local residents in community surveys and in letters and calls to the Tahoe Daily Tribune. Public safety always ranks high on the list.

Also on the list of recommendations is a parks and recreation department reorganization, which is anticipated to cost the city $40,500. The department is now considered a subset of administration.

“I want to discuss with the council the issue of returning it to a full department status, and this would be the opportunity to do so,” City Manager Dave Jinkens said.

With the help of Finance Director Christine Vuletich, Jinkens indicated the city’s financial structure “has been strengthened over the last four years,” since severe budget cuts were implemented.

The city has tightened the belt on general fund expenditures, which would level out to $28.7 million in the document being proposed. That’s a 1 percent increase of the current year’s budget.

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