Mayor touts improvements at State of the City Address

Eric Heinz
South Lake Tahoe Mayor Tom Davis delivers the State of the City Tuesday at City Council Chambers.
Eric Heinz / Tahoe Daily Tribune | Tahoe Daily Tribune

The State of the City Address on Tuesday from South Lake Tahoe Mayor Tom Davis encompassed a year of triumphs, hurdles and future goals.

Some of the burdens from the past few years, blamed on the rippling effects of the 2008 recession and requisite economic lethargy, had been mostly quelled during this fiscal year’s budget session, Davis said.

The 2013-14 city budget has been balanced without cutting services, reducing salaries, furloughs or using funding from reserves and other areas for the first time in five years, Davis said.

He also said it was a less controversial budget process this year than recent past cycles.

“This is a milestone for our city,” Davis said. “There are still some challenges. This budget, though, is prudent, conservative and continues to focus on quality core services — police, fire, snow removal and recreation.”

The presentation also addressed some of the city’s ongoing struggles, which included unfunded liabilities such as pensions and the city’s health care plan. Davis also mentioned repaving roads, replacing old snow removal equipment and aging infrastructure are also needed.

Davis touched on funding the city’s Recreation Master Plan and the goals stated within it. The RMP survey data collection was complied and published last month.

“This is going to be critical,” he said. “(The) Recreation Master Plan is our future and economic viability.”

Davis said the privately and publicly funded Aspens at South Lake Tahoe, an affordable housing complex, is nearing completion. The living facility has 48 units and is expected to open February 2014.

“Unfortunately, this is the final redevelopment project the city is able to bring to fruition since the state eliminated redevelopment,” Davis said of California’s decision to dissolve its redevelopment agencies.

Davis said there are 350 units among the various affordable housing complexes in South Lake Tahoe.

The $43.1 million Caltrans Trout Creek to Ski Run Boulevard storm water mitigation and streetscape project on U.S. Highway 50 was highlighted during the speech, as the planning and construction of the project took the better part of 10 years to complete.

“What I think this project has done is framed beautiful Lake Tahoe with some beautiful landscaping,” Davis said.

Grants acquisition has been plentiful for the city, with more than $31 million acquired in grant funding over the past year, Davis said.

Other keynote items Davis spoke about included bringing in more businesses, large chains and otherwise, such as retail stores, restaurants and service businesses to the area.

The mayor also said transient occupancy tax from lodging is up 20 percent, and sales tax is up 10 percent from last year.

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