El Dorado County supervisors consider TOT, General Fund allocations

Eric Jaramishian / Mountain Democrat

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors gave direction to staff on allocating funds from the General Fund and Transient Occupancy Tax during its budget hearing Tuesday.

During discussion on how to distribute TOT funds, District 4 Supervisor Lori Parlin requested hiring two new code enforcement officers for night and weekend response to reported vacation home rental and ranch marketing event violations, one for the Tahoe area and one for the West Slope. The anticipated cost is $300,000 for both enforcement officers. 

Parlin told other supervisors having VHRs and ranch marketing events enforced is important in supporting local residents. 

“I don’t see how we cannot do this and not have our residents lose faith in us,” Parlin said. “On the flip side, it also helps the venues that we are getting phone calls on, because maybe some of them are not substantiated when the officers show up. We don’t have that tool and it is causing a lot of angst.”

No code enforcement officer is employed for weekends or nights in Tahoe. 

The recommended action will be considered when supervisors adopt the final budget in fall.

The Shingle Springs-Cameron Park Chamber of Commerce requested $37,500 in TOT funds for operations such as hosting entrepreneur’s workshops and forums, Thunder in the Park car show marketing, website updates and maintenance and shop local campaigns.

TOT requests represent 28.5% of the chamber’s yearly budget, according to reports send to the county. Chamber leadership expects TOT funding will be needed for six years.

The board voted 3-2 to fund the chamber, with Thomas and Parlin holding out on ‘no’ votes. 

District 2 Supervisor George Turnboo pushed for chamber funding but others disagreed. 

“I see (the chamber) as more of a local community campaign to support local business rather than a larger, countywide campaign as a whole that drives people to El Dorado County to promote TOT tax,” said Wendy Thomas, board chair and District 3 Supervisor.

Considering that funding chambers in the future should be looked at for all, the board voted to explore allocating TOT funds to other Chambers of Commerce. 

For the Tahoe Transportation District and South Shore Transportation Management Association, county leaders will consider allocating $270,000. District 5 Supervisor Brooke Laine lent her support for a micro-transit program run by the South Shore Transportation Management Association.

“It is in its infancy; it is a free micro-transit program that runs there and without the county’s contribution that program is in jeopardy of even surviving,” Laine said. 

While discussing TOT funding allocations, Laine requested the county consider having TOT funds be part of the General Fund and the board invest a percentage of discretionary General Fund revenue into the community. 

Supervisors plan to consider the action during the next budget cycle.

County staff will also be working with fire districts in refining their TOT requests to better show direct links to tourism impacts when asking for TOT allocations. 

A number of items have been added to the 2023-24 recommended budget, including $102,000 in funding for the El Dorado Hills Fire Department Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund encumbrance equivalent amount.

The El Dorado County Youth and Families Commission will receive $250,000 in a step-down funding model where the El Dorado County Office of Education, Health and Human Services Agency, the Chief Administrative Office and Probation Department will help fund the operational support for the commission. In addition, the commission will also receive $100,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to offset COVID-19 impacts. 

The county will budget $95,600 from the General Fund for Arts and Culture El Dorado for purposes of promoting arts and culture and initiating free cultural programming. 

More than $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds will go to emergency medical services in South Lake Tahoe and Tahoe’s west shore areas to make up for lost revenue. 

Due to receiving funding from the Local Agency Technical Assistance Grant, the county will reduce ARPA funding broadband projects by $500,000. The audit reserve will also be decreased to $684,547. 

The board previously approved the use of $8,708.50 from its $870,850.48 ARPA Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency Fund to support National Association of Counties and the Western Interstate Regions’ efforts to establish a national center for public lands for counties. The remainder of those funds will be used for General Fund governmental operations. After that, any savings will be moved to the General Fund and designated for use in case of a federal audit.

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