Local leaders, elected officials discuss challenges, objectives during State of South Shore | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Local leaders, elected officials discuss challenges, objectives during State of South Shore

TRPA Governing Board member and Placer County Supervisor Cindy Gustafson presents Wednesday, May 17.
Provided/Jeff Cowen/TRPA

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Local leaders and elected officials gathered Wednesday evening for Tahoe Chamber’s State of the South Shore.

Participating in this year’s event were El Dorado County District V Supervisor Brooke Laine, South Lake Tahoe City Manager Joe Irvin, Cindy Gustafson, current chair of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board and Placer County supervisor, and Shelly Thomsen, director of public and legislative affairs for the South Tahoe Public Utility District.

Each gave a presentation highlighting recent accomplishments, challenges and strategic objectives for 2023 and beyond.

Laine opened the presentations and said the biggest problem she heard from residents while running for office this past November was vacation home rentals.

Laine is currently forming an advisory committee and will hold a VHR forum on May 25 in Meeks Bay, which will also be available through Zoom.

“Enforcement is the key,” Laine said.

TRPA board member Cindy Gustafson presents while (from left) South Lake Tahoe City Manager Joe Irvin, El Dorado County Supervisor Brooke Laine and South Tahoe Public Utility District’s Director of Public and Legislative Affairs Shelly Thomsen watch.
Provided/Jeff Cowen/TRPA

Irvin followed by giving a brief history of how South Lake Tahoe got to where it is today and reviewed the city’s $135 million budget, including $58 million in the general fund and $14.5 million in reserves.

He also discussed this winter’s “Snow-mageddon” and how the city has ordered $3.5 million in new equipment to replace an aging fleet that currently spends a good amount of time being repaired.

That led into “Pothole-mageddon” where Irvin discussed how the city dealt with crumbling roads.

Gustafson stepped in for TRPA Executive Director Julie Regan and presented about the many projects happening with the agency including transportation and housing. Gustafson also shared that she has lived in the basin for 40 years, on Tahoe’s West Shore, and was proud to be elected and be a local representative in her district.

She also mentioned there are only 14 governing board members for the bi-state agency, with a vacancy on the California side they hope to fill soon.

Thomsen discussed how the district coped with the winter, including showing an image of an avalanche at Fallen Leaf Lake that damaged equipment. She also mentioned the district is holding a meeting on Thursday, May 18, where the board will decide whether or not to raise rates approximately 9.5% to help update an aging system.

It was also brought up by event moderator Steve Teshara that general manager John Thiel is leaving the district after four and a half years. Teshara asked Thomsen how the district is preparing for that and she responded that they have hired a recruiter and will be recruiting nationally for the position.

The event lasted almost two hours and was held at the Tahoe Beach Retreat Conference Center.

Shelly Thomsen of the South Tahoe Public Utility District presents on Wednesday during the Tahoe Chamber’s State of the South Shore.
Provided/Jeff Cowen/TRPA

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