City council hears One Tahoe transit presentation; discusses diversifying economy
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — During an eight hour meeting on Tuesday, the South Lake Tahoe City Council tackled several items, including diversifying the economy.
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced Tahoe to cut its winter short, the council formed a Transformative Change subcommittee, led by councilmembers Devin Middlebrook and Cody Bass, to prevent future losses from possible lack of tourism.
The areas of focus they highlighted include built environment, recreation and equitable access, community for all, economic development and continuous improvement. Within each category, the committee chose strategies such as broadband for all, improving mental health and homelessness response, and resident retention and workforce development.
During a future meeting, the committee will develop a timeline and actionable items to move the ideas forward. Bass said he wants to bring it back to the council after the November election so the new council can provide input.
The council also received a presentation from Tahoe Transportation District on the One Tahoe initiative. One Tahoe aims to connect the basin with public transportation, get less cars on the road and look for funding sources to build transportation infrastructure.
One of the ideas is to implement fees to get into the basin. Many members of the public spoke out saying if the tolls were implemented, there should be exemptions for locals and workforce who have to commute into Tahoe.
This was just a presentation, so the council did not take action. The soonest the plan could be implemented would 2023 but because TTD was formed from the bi-state compact that created Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, TTD would need to get approval from both California and Nevada legislatures to put the plan in place.
Most of the meeting was taken up with vacation home rental permit appeals. Three VHRs lost their permits after failing to pay the renewal fees in time.
In the case of the first VHR on Ala Wai Boulevard, the homeowner did not see the courtesy reminder from the city because it went to his spam account.
The second home sold so the council did not hear that appeal and in the case of the third on Larch Avenue, the property manager had asked the city to provide a list of which homes had not renewed their permits and the city did not respond.
As in previous appeals hearing, the council debated whether or not the city should grant leniency because they’ve provided reminders in the past even though they are not obligated to do so, or if it’s the VHR owners responsibility to stay on top of the renewal dates.
The council voted to deny the appeal for both homes, with Mayor Pro Tem Tamara Wallace being the only no vote.
The council also voted to allow the Boys and Girls Club of Lake Tahoe to temporarily use the recreation center to house more students while the schools are during remote learning.
BGCLT will now be able to watch 60 more students during the day. As the school district moves through the phases to returning to standard learning, BGCLT will also be adjusting their schedule until they return to normal operations and will no longer need the recreation center.
Finally, the council received a budget update. The council directed staff to plan for a worst case scenario in terms of COVID-19 impacts on the budget during the summer. The city ended up bringing in 80% of average TOT which was more than the city had planned for.
Staff had several recommendations on how to use the extra money including increasing the fire department strike team budget, increasing building revenue budget and fully funding the Airport Hanger Pavement Rehabilitation Project.
The council approved the budget changes.
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