City Council to discuss permanent home |

City Council to discuss permanent home

The South Lake Tahoe City Council meets today in its rented chambers to discuss a permanent home for city staff and services. The final phase of the city ice rink is also up for contract approval.

The lease and taxes on the city service center cost $120,000 a year, according to a staff report. Currently, city workers are spread between five different sites, plus separate facilities for police and fire administration.

The estimated cost for a building of up to 19,000 square feet, without a council chamber, is about $4 million. The city could fund little more than half of that amount with existing resources, leaving the balance to be paid through city reserves or increased debt service.

But the city faces increased costs when its Services Center lease expires, along with the price of storage and additional office space.

“We’re looking at it from a practical standpoint,” said City Manager David Childs, who listed affordability as a primary concern.

While several options were analyzed, two preferred sites have been identified:

— The so-called “5-acre parcel” on U.S. Highway 50, which sits between the Senior Center and Lake Tahoe Museum on one side and the Campground by the Lake on the other. The project would require removal of the Chamber of Commerce building.

— The corner of Al Tahoe and Johnson boulevards, part of Bijou Community Park. The site is close to existing and proposed government facilities, along with new ball fields planned farther south on Al Tahoe. The project would impact part of the park’s 27-hole disc golf course.

Neither option includes space for council meetings. The city is considering whether to help fund a joint public meeting facility on the Lake Tahoe Community College campus.

That building would be part of a move by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, U.S. Forest Service and California Tahoe Conservancy to centralize their offices, while El Dorado County and the South Tahoe Public Utility District have joined discussions on the meeting room, the staff report states. Beyond its use for public meetings, the building could also be equipped to serve as an interagency emergency operations center.

No action is planned at today’s workshop, although council members are expected to give direction to city staff about which options to explore. Also on the workshop agenda:

— Bids for the final phase of the ice rink came in over budget, so the city rebid the project with fewer amenities. Staff has recommended awarding a $2 million contract to Spanda Industrial Development of Sacramento, which is already under contract to erect the metal building.

“That seems to be the logical option at this point,” Childs said.

The city has removed the irrigation system and landscaping from the ice rink budget and could use city staff or a local service group to do the work.

“We were trying to do whatever we could to reduce costs and get the building out of the ground,” Childs said.

The ice rink, which is funded by the Measure S recreation tax passed in September, was slated to cost $3.8 million. The latest contract, which is set to be approved at the council’s regular 6 p.m. meeting, would push the total cost to $4,359,000, nearly 15 percent above the initial figure. That would leave $65,500 in contingency funds, less than 2 percent of the project cost.

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