GUEST COLUMN: Mayor gives state of the city, and it’s pretty good |

GUEST COLUMN: Mayor gives state of the city, and it’s pretty good

It’s a new year, a challenging year, a year that is critical for our lake and our community. So what’s the city of South Lake Tahoe doing about it?

Well, quite a bit, actually. Each month we will provide a summary of the actions taken by the City Council and staff on behalf of the community. Actions in January and early February include, but are not limited to:

– Lakeview Commons is virtually complete. Finally, a place to relax, unwind and enjoy the reason we love it here in Lake Tahoe. Thanks to all of those who envisioned and transformed an essential part of our community. This beautiful spot will be shared for generations. A grand opening will be scheduled in the spring when the final landscaping is complete.

– Measure S and the ice rink: In cooperation with the Measure S JPA (Tahoe Paradise) and El Dorado County, the ice arena is on track to become a central hub of our community, a financial asset for our town and an excellent example for public/private partnership. Refinancing the bonds for the facility will end up saving $300,000 in taxpayer funds that would have been diverted to interest payments that will instead be available for additional recreational amenities.

– Total Maximum Daily Load: The City, El Dorado and Placer counties joined together to appeal a costly and restrictive stormwater permit issued by Lahontan. As science has changed, specifically a new standard called TMDL, so have regulatory objectives. In California, that means time and money. The big questions: Will new TMDL standards lead to lake clarity? Is it worth the staggering cost? And who should pay for it?

– League to Save Lake Tahoe lawsuit: The League to Save Lake Tahoe sued the city over its General Plan, after years of public input and sweat equity, which was very frustrating, particularly since the league had input throughout the process. A federal judge ruled in favor of the city and its residents to plan for the future of South Lake Tahoe and dismissed the lawsuit.

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– Redevelopment: The city will emerge from the redevelopment mess in better shape than many other California jurisdictions. That’s because the city took a conservative approach to the laws enacted in June 2011, didn’t embrace additional debt when it could have, and carefully complied with the new laws.

– SnowGlobe Festival: While the noise was excessive, the economic gain was vital for local businesses. Kudos to police and emergency personnel, city staff and concert organizers. Other than the excessive bass and overall sound issues, there were few other problems.

– TRPA Regional Plan: The city has worked closely with other basin jurisdictions, California and Nevada representatives, the TRPA staff and the public to craft a plan focusing on the environmental and economical sustainable of our region. The plan gives local jurisdictions more control over land use and residential permitting but still works toward maintaining environmental thresholds outlined in the 1987 Regional Plan.

– Tahoe Transportation Plan: In another collaborative effort, a new regional transportation plan was unveiled that offered ideas on how to get around Tahoe with fewer cars and more alternative transportation. It offers a framework for much needed infrastructure improvements.

– The South Shore Vision Plan: Another extraordinary plan was unveiled this month that rethinks the casino core. The plan, a private-public collaboration, actually rethinks how Tahoe thinks tourism. It shows a vibrant cityscape that blends into the outdoor amenities that draw people to Tahoe.

– Each month Mayor Claire Fortier will present a summary of City Council actions and accomplishments. Email her at Fortier is a 20 year resident of South Lake Tahoe and has been a councilmember since 2010 and the mayor since December 2011. Mayor Fortier recently earned a master’s degree in environmental journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno, focusing on the Lake Tahoe environment.