City Council receives rec center project update, new garbage, waste collection plan

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Lake Tahoe City Council on Tuesday was presented with the status of the recreation center project and also a new plan for garbage and waste collection.

Council was presented a defined plan outlining the upcoming rebid for contractors for the recreation center project. The rebid process is expected to take place in parts over the next seven months.

Contractor outreach has begun for the rebid to occur during the summer and with groundbreaking expected in 2024. Phase 1 of the project is 98% complete with only minor tasks remaining to finish, including electrical and natural gas utilities in the restrooms during the spring.

In other business, South Tahoe Refuse President Jeff Tillman presented a 3-cart plan which led to deeper discussion regarding feasibility, sustainability, and reality of the plan for which council support is sought via a letter.

Due to Senate Bill 1383, which is a statewide effort to reduce emissions 75% by 2025, the City’s Sustainability Coordinator Sara Letton said that operations need to be converted to a three cart system and that impacts South Tahoe Refuse’s franchise agreement with the city due to the mandate of a 75% reduction. 

Tillman said there would be a cart with a green lid for yard waste, blue lid for recycling and a grey/black lid which would be bear resistant. STR has received a waiver for the food waste portion of SB 1383 which requires it to be collected curbside. 

With the separation in carts there would be alternating days for collection. This would eliminate the blue bags, add seven new recycling routes, seven new green waste and add three additional drivers. 

The conversation turned to procuring equipment that meets the requirements of having 50% of the fleet consist of electric vehicles by 2024 and 100% of the fleet by 2027.

Mayor Pro Tem Cody Bass said, “I did the math and 21,000 containers would end up to be $7 million dollars which would be a worthy investment to retrain the bears away from trash cans by teaching them they’re all locked.”

Council member Tami Wallace said, “It would be extremely arrogant for [the city] to tell Mr. Tillman what kind of vehicles to buy, he was born into this business and lived it every single day of his life.”

Fredrich said, “Investigation isn’t arrogance. There are many communities that are making the change. The change is coming, there’s a lot of cash out there to support the transition [to electric vehicle]. I appreciate Tillman’s openness to it because by 2027 they will need to make those purchases.”

City Manager Joe Irvin and other members agreed it would be worth writing in language that included in the franchise agreement rate increases but wanted further clarification on the transition, rate increase coming in May, bear boxes and the carts. A public hearing will be held later this year.

“We’re here to serve this community,” Tillman said, and added STR is willing to take suggestions from the council to accomplish that. 

Bass raised his hand to second the motion from Wallace with inclusion of language regarding bear resistant boxes. With that, the motion passed unanimously.

The last motion of the council meeting carried unanimously placed the issue of Liberty Utilities franchise agreement on the agenda for Jan. 24 council meeting.

In other business, Police Chief David Stevenson recognized officer Chris Cable for his five years of service. Stevenson added that all of Cable’s time has been spent on graveyard service. 

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