City Council considers sales tax increase |

City Council considers sales tax increase

Susan Wood

Don’t put your wallets away too fast, South Lake Tahoe residents.

The collection of taxes and fees tops the City Council meeting slated for 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Among the items, the council will review four options ranging from a quarter- to 1-percent hike that would increase the sales tax if passed on the Nov. 2 ballot.

The quarter-percent increase, which would require two-thirds approval, would be earmarked for street maintenance. A half-, 3/4- and 1-percent hike would go to general government purposes, scaling down the level of passage to a majority vote.

The current sales tax in South Lake Tahoe stands at 7.25 percent.

According to the staff report, the council revenue subcommittee consisting of Mayor Tom Davis and Councilman John Upton “does not yet have enough information to make a specific recommendation.”

A community survey has been sent out to residents asking for insight into the matter, due back to the city by the end of April.

The City Council has expressed concern about the timing of a sales tax initiative coinciding with the multitude of ballot measures to be voted on in California in the coming general election.

The city is facing “severe and chronic financial problems,” with cuts next year expected to “impact service levels in all departments,” City Manager Dave Jinkens warned.

With that in mind, the city’s Redevelopment Agency has told property owners located in a project area where a convention center complex is proposed that its existing financial obligations have provided no “financial resources to undertake the proposed project on its own.”

The city – while looking for a developing partner – sent 71 letters to the property owners to get an idea whether they would be interested in having the project proceed. Some landholders who want to be bought out are angry with the city for its alleged inaction and delay at taking steps to build the complex.

Also at odds with the city, the Clean Tahoe board and staff are unhappy the local government is changing the distribution of funds to pay for litter abatement in the city. It may eliminate the surcharge on South Tahoe Refuse bills earmarked for the program. The city wants to raise the refuse franchise fee from 5 percent to 9.5 percent to run what would be called the Clean Community program.

The suggestion appearing on Tuesday’s agenda has angered Clean Tahoe because it claims it was left out of the loop. Clean Tahoe wants to put the matter on hold until its board has met with the city in a joint meeting.

The upcoming City Council meeting will take place at 1900 Lake Tahoe Blvd.

– Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at

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