El Dorado County budgets resources to South Lake Tahoe | TahoeDailyTribune.com

El Dorado County budgets resources to South Lake Tahoe

Eric Heinz

With the Sept. 16 adoption of the El Dorado County budget, South Lake Tahoe’s local county service locations will see more financial assistance this fiscal year.

El Dorado County Chief Budget Officer Laura Schwartz said most of the budgetary process looks at overall county needs, but there are some specific funding mechanisms that were slated for South Lake Tahoe.

“We did add a sheriff sergeant to lead a drug task force (at the South Lake Tahoe office), and that was a program unfunded at federal and state level,” Schwartz said. “We really want to try to invest in those preventative measures.”

Economic development funding toward factions such as the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce also were in the county’s priority, Schwartz said.

County officials allocated $5.6 million to upgrade facilities, primarily intended for mental health, child welfare and human services facilities.

El Dorado County Fifth District Supervisor Norma Santiago said chunks of this money will go toward South Lake Tahoe facilities. The supervisor said facilities within the county and South Lake Tahoe will need these funds in part because of Affordable Care Act mandates that will soon be in effect.

“We’ve set up a facilities assessment team for facilities within El Dorado County,” Santiago said. “As a result, some recommendations are coming to the board, and some of those facilities would be from this (the fifth) district.”

It is possible with the ACA overhaul, much more state and federal intergovernmental funding could come to these facilities for services.

“These services are not only specific to South Lake (Tahoe) but to the entire El Dorado County area because there are things coming from the state in regard to that funding,” Santiago said. “This is all a result of things changing at state legislation.”

The county is also seeing small upticks in valuation for all property assessments, Santiago said. Additionally, new commerce sources have been sprouting up specifically in her district.

“It’s very indicative of progress,” she said “In the Meyers area, some new businesses have come up and there’s just some trends that’s we’re seeing from the small-business standpoint. It’s just these little hints that we’re pulling out of this (economic downturn), albeit not as fast as we’d like, but it’s there.”

Between fiscal years 2011-12 to 2012-13, the county’s median housing price rose from $255,000 to $309,000, according to a budget analysis published by El Dorado County. In the last three fiscal years, county unemployment dropped from 13.6 percent to 9 percent.

Additionally, Santiago said all 42 of the residential allocations — approval to build homes in the fifth district — from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency have been assigned in the 2013-14 fiscal year, something that hasn’t been achieved in at least four years.

She said this, too, is indicative of additional economic improvement because the district hasn’t been able to use all of them “in a long time.”

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