Douglas County funds BlueGo, despite operating problems | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Douglas County funds BlueGo, despite operating problems

Gregory Crofton, Tribune staff writer

STATELINE – Douglas County narrowly approved its share of funding for BlueGo, a computer-driven transit system at South Shore, when its Board of Commissioners met Thursday.

BlueGo went online in September. It combines public and private transit vehicles and is designed to be more efficient and draw people out of their cars in an effort to improve air quality.

At their Stateline meeting, commissioners voted 3 to 2 to approve $130,000 that will fund the county portion of the system through December 2004. Commissioner Kelly Kite and Commissioner Bernie Curtis voted against the funding after both men expressed disdain for a system that took seven years to put into operation and hasn’t performed well out of the gate.

“Don’t ask what it costs per passenger,” Curtis said. “It’d probably be cheaper if we buy cars for everyone.”

Commissioner Tim Smith, who serves on BlueGo’s Board of Directors, rebutted Curtis by saying the system needs a chance to get off the ground.

“This system needs to be given a legitimate chance to get going,” Smith said. “Yes it may not look pretty, but I’m cautiously optimistic that as this program continue to grow and the public becomes aware of this, those numbers will come together.”

Recommended Stories For You

Curtis didn’t buy into Smith’s optimism.

“I applaud Commissioner Smith’s unbridled enthusiasm,” Curtis said. “I had that unbridled enthusiasm seven years ago. I will not support this. It is the principle of the thing. It’s almost, ‘Enough is enough.’ “

The county is responsible for $81,000 of the $130,000 in funding. The county levies a 1 percent room tax at the lake to create that revenue. The rest of the money will be provided by Nevada Department of Transportation or the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, said Bob Nunes, community development director.

In other action, commissioners:

n Approved an amended agreement with Douglas Disposal, Inc., that includes a 3.3 percent rate hike. The agreement is much friendlier to the customer than what existed, which gave the owner of DDI incentive to increase rates, Kite said. Commissioner Steve Weissinger agreed.

The 3.3 percent rate hike is “much better than the 8 to 9 percent we normally didn’t have a choice about,” Weissinger said.

n Appointed Richard Gardner, of Stateline, to a two-year term on the Douglas County Planning Commission and Robert Conner of Minden to a three-year term.

n Approved an on-sale liquor license and restricted gaming license for Sam’s Beach House Restaurant (formerly Dixon’s II) 212 Elks Point Road.

n Approved a name change and an additional bar for Water Wheel, restaurant at 195 Highway 50, in Stateline. The restaurant will be called Alex’s Steakhouse and Teppanyaki.

– Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at gcrofton@tahoedailytribune.com