Economic development key to city’s future |

Economic development key to city’s future

South Lake Tahoe residents said they want many things for their little mountain haven, but one theme crops up more than any other in these uncertain times — economic development.

“We need to do something to attract people up here,” Steve Monteverde said Monday, while coming out of the Post Office off Al Tahoe Boulevard with his mail.

The Harrah’s Lake Tahoe slot supervisor would like to see the city take a more active role in ways to build the economy. He’d also like to see businesses cater to the varying demographics that visit.

“It’s so expensive up here,” he said. “There are so many things. But I think the priority should be to keep people up here, so we can keep our jobs.”

Keeping businesses thriving in town topped the list for Doug and Linda Morris, who split their time between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe.

“We need to retain businesses. Smart & Final’s leaving,” she said.

This is precisely what the city has in mind. The City Council — which came up with 66 objectives in its team-building retreat six months ago –will discuss these business goals today at its 9 a.m. meeting at 1900 Lake Tahoe Blvd.

City Manager Dave Jinkens outlined creating a program to retain, expand and attract businesses as a high priority. Promoting economic development goals with the help of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority and South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce was also identified.

“Economic development is a big part of our goals,” Mayor Judy Brown said Monday.

Part of that equation involves making the town more business friendly, Mark Cohen of Overland Meat said. He would like the city to lower business license fees “if possible.” He also wants consistency in the city, naming the sign and trash ordinances as two codes needing further review.

“They should make it so everybody has to comply,” he said.

Many ideas ranging from evaluating Lake Tahoe Airport fees to fighting state budget cuts rounded out a long wish list the council wants to accomplish.

“It’s all contingent on money,” Councilman Tom Davis said.

To improve the revenue picture, the city has expressed an interest in hiring a grant writer next year to research and gain more funds for projects — and there are many.

Affordable housing and traffic also topped the list of priorities some residents said they hope the city addresses.

“I just want to see the construction done. Getting around in this town is hard enough,” said Justin Newman, who works for a plumbing and heating contractor.

— Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at

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