El Dorado County supervisors approve creation of Measure S oversight committee
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Just because there were no public comments Tuesday morning during the discussion of creating a committee to oversee funds generated from the voter-approved Measure S, El Dorado County District 5 Supervisor Brooke Laine knows South Lake Tahoe area residents will be closely watching how money is spent, especially with roads crumbling in the basin.
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution to create a 5-person oversight committee that will review and report on the revenue and expenditure of funds. Measure S was approved by more than 80% of voters in November which raised the transient occupancy tax by 4%, to 14%, and the extra hike is expected to generate $2.5 million that is supposed to be solely for snow removal and road maintenance in the Tahoe area.
TOT is a fee on visitors to the area who stay in vacation home rentals, hotels or other lodging for 30 days or less. The tax does not apply to those who stay at a campsite or a space at a privately owned or state park campground or recreational vehicle park.
“That’s not due to lack of attention,” Laine said as the public comment period ended. “The public wants to make sure the money is spent the way it is supposed to. We have severe (road) damage from the storms already.”
With the resolution approved, the county clerk will start the application process and return to the board no later than March 1 for member appointment.
District 1 Supervisor John Hidahl asked Laine what kind of representation she wants on the committee and hoped for a diverse group.
“Diversity brings out good ideas,” Hidahl said, to which Laine agreed.
The committee members, according to the resolution, will be appointed by the board, they will meet on an annual basis prior to budget approval by the board and before funds are spent, and the committee should consist of varied membership, including homeowners and community members representing business, recreation, tourism and other interests.
The committee shall serve without compensation and won’t have the authority to approve expenditure of funds. The term for committee members will be for four years but may be removed at any time by a majority vote from the board.
The board also unanimously approved to enter an agreement for legal services with Baron & Budd, PC., Dixon Diab & Chambers, LLP, for representation on a contingency fee basis in litigation against PG&E arising from the Mosquito Fire.
The county, along with Placer County, El Dorado Water Agency, Georgetown Divide Public Utilities District, and Georgetown Divide Fire Protection District, filed a lawsuit last week in San Francisco Superior Court that alleges PG&E’s equipment was the cause and origin of the Mosquito Fire, which started Sept. 6, 2022, and caused significant damages to public and natural resources in El Dorado and Placer Counties.
The fire was active for 50 days and burned 76,788 acres between El Dorado and Placer counties. More than 11,000 people were evacuated and more than 3,700 firefighting personnel responded. By Sept. 8, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for the two counties. On Sept. 9, the Federal Emergency Management Agency authorized Federal Management Assistance Grants for firefighting and response efforts.
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