City Council celebrates Middlebrook’s time on board, welcomes new member, approves garbage rate hike

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — During the last City Council meeting of 2022 on Tuesday, a rate increase for South Tahoe Refuse was unanimously approved, Mayor Devin Middlebrook briefly presided over his last meeting and was recognized for his service and the board welcomed a new member.

The garbage collection increase of $1.76 per month, or 4.96%, for residential customers results in $21.12 annually. Commercial customers will be paying $2.01 per month more per cubic yard.

The changing of the guard Tuesday for the city council began with certification of election results which passed unanimously. The council members then took the opportunity to recognize Mayor Devin Middlebrook “for providing dedicated leadership.”

Council member John Friedrich listed 12 accomplishments achieved during the year with Middlebrook as mayor. The monologue encompassed some sentiments highlighted first by fellow council members Cody Bass, Tamara Wallace, and new mayor Cristi Creegan, with a few additions of his own. 

Friedrich even broke into song once while reciting a list set to the “imagined tune” of the 12 days of Christmas. Some of Friedrich’s list of accomplishments included Ski Run Community Park, a recreation center ground breaking ceremony, $6.4 million for road repair (five times as much prior to Measure S), climate action plan and 100% 24/7 renewable energy, seven firefighters at station two, a new police/fire and communication system, Lake Link micro transit, plastic water bottle ban, lease to locals program, Sugar Pine Village (affordable housing) ground breaking ceremony.

“Nothing that we’ve accomplished within the ‘12 days of Council’ song could have happened without this amazing staff,” Middlebrook said. “I am very much looking forward to watching your continued success from the audience.”

Discussion on the selection of mayor and mayor pro tem took place before the torch was officially passed to Creegan and Bass. Friedrich showed interest in being mayor pro tem but did not receive a motion. Bass received a motion to be appointed although Wallace said she would not be able to support him. 

Bass suggested that each council member should experience the seat of mayor during their 4-year term.

In a 4-1 vote, former Mayor Pro Tem Creegan and Bass were installed. 

In discussion on approving the consent agenda, Robbins raised a question concerning the amount of financial gain expected from investing in new equipment with the city purchasing a street paving machine for $180,346,46.

The equipment would allow for the city to “extend the life of the pavement existing,” according to Public Works Director Anush Nejad.

Nejad said there is not a current figure for how much will be saved in response.

City Manager Joe Irvin added, “the program of preventative maintenance extends our dollar. We will perfect this going into the future and work to quantify a dollar amount that it does save. Needless to say as we treat roads more routinely we avoid having to do the more costly repairs.” 

A motion by Wallace seconded by Robbins was unanimously carried to approve the consent agenda which can be reviewed on the city council website

Two applications were received for one available seat with the El Dorado County Community Action Council on aging, Brandi Bannister and Chantelle Shenning.

Wallace said she sought out Bannister for the application due what she says is “living” the commission through her daily experience with the aging population. In a statement to the council Bannister said she stands up for youth and elderly in the community as she feels their voices are often not heard. 

In support of Shenning, Bass said, “I don’t think there’s a better person we could put in this position.”

Creegan said, “I would support Miss Banister but I see we are split and so the seat this time will go to Miss Shenning.”

The council’s attention turned to appointments to boards and commissions each member holds. 

Several members shuffled and traded appointments to suit a variety of individual needs, interests, and intentions of each member. The assignments are to be updated and posted to the city council website.

The council also unanimously approved paying for registration and travel for both the new mayor and mayor pro tem to attend the League of California Cities 2023 New Mayors and Council Members Academy on Jan. 18-20. Funds to attend were already in the city’s budget.

The first meeting in 2023 will be held at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10.

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