Council likes plan presented by agencies |

Council likes plan presented by agencies

Susan Wood, Tahoe Daily Tribune

The South Lake Tahoe City Council approved a concept Tuesday night for a ballot measure intended to close the city’s $2 million shortfall.

The plan involves adding an “up to” $1.50 per-room-per-night fee on motel properties on top of a 10 percent transient occupancy tax already applied to room rates. Redevelopment properties charge 12 percent to their guests.

The amount is deemed to collect another $1.3 million for the city’s coffers.

City Attorney Cathy DiCamillo was instructed to write the measure language and a resolution to define what would implement 50 cents of the new fee by the June 4 City Council meeting.

Fifty cents of the proposal brought forth by a signed coalition spun out of the budget subcommittee is an alternative that requires “certain criteria” be met.

The uncertainty of a fixed amount prompted lengthy discussion and bantering. Some on the panel feared failing to define exactly when the 50 cents would be enacted would cause confusion and sink the ballot measure.

Treasurer Steve Wysong said the language is confusing as it is presented.

“If people don’t understand it, it’s an automatic no,” Councilman Bill Crawford said.

But most members of the council liked the idea that many facets of the community agreed upon the plan. It was presented by budget consultant and former City Manager Dave Childs.

The leadership in the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce, South Lake Tahoe Firemen’s Association, South Lake Tahoe Police Association, South Lake Tahoe Senior Citizens group, Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association, South Lake Tahoe Board of Realtors and city administrative staff — made up of public safety staffers — signed the plan.

Representatives from the groups packed the council chambers.

Other aspects of the plan include raising the business license fees, mothballing the Lake Tahoe Airport tower and an aggressive TOT collection program which collectively is expected to bring another $650,000 into the city.

Chamber President Dennis Crabb said the compromise took 10 months of negotiating and left no party completely satisfied.

Saying he felt the panel was “boxed in,” Crawford proposed a 2 percent increase on TOT, but that idea received no support.

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