South Tahoe launches software to improve budget transparency |

South Tahoe launches software to improve budget transparency

Tom Lotshaw

South Lake Tahoe is launching a tool on its website to help people drill down into the city’s annual budgets.

South Lake Tahoe is one of about 40 California cities partnering with

Available on the city’s homepage, the program breaks the current $78.7 million budget as well as past budgets down by activity or fund, outlining both expenses and revenues.

“I was surprised when I first came to the city about the lack of trust on the budget, because it is a public document,” City Manager Nancy Kerry told the City Council Tuesday.

“This is online and available any time,” Kerry said. “We’re happy to answer questions as people go through those numbers to get a better sense of where their money is going.”

City officials will upload actual budget figures into the program each quarter as those numbers become available.

Members of the City Council voted down an ordinance that would have let businesses set up banners and sandwich boards starting at 8 a.m. on Fridays to advertise their products and services through the weekend. Current regulations let businesses set up signs and banners starting at 8 a.m. on Saturdays.

Council members had requested the measure to be prepared and brought before them, but voted it down 3-2 on Tuesday. The ordinance change was supported by JoAnn Conner and Tom Davis and opposed by Hal Cole, Angela Swanson and Brooke Laine.

Laine said she didn’t like the proposed change or see how it would benefit businesses. She also referred to city surveys that found people oppose the clutter the sandwich board signs and banners create.

“I just don’t see where this gets us anywhere,” Laine said.

Conner said South Lake Tahoe needs to be doing whatever it can to help local businesses.

“When we talk about needing money, for free public transportation, bike paths, recreation, and advancing the vision we have, all of it takes money. We get a lot of that money from these retail establishments, businesses, and I think we should be trying to help them, not hurt them,” Conner said.

City Council also approved a design permit amendment for the Chateau at Heavenly Village project with a 5-0 vote. Amendments will allow grade changes for driveways and ramps, modifications to doors, windows, siding and gateway signs, the removal of a common restroom for restrooms in each tenant space, and reduction in a walkway’s width.

Council members said cheaper plywood siding and other reduced architectural details will be allowed temporarily on the back of the building, until future phases of the project are built or concrete columns that were installed for them are removed.

In other business Tuesday, City Council:

• Approved an application and review policy for people or groups who want to modify city parks or add facilities to them.

• Reauthorized an annual tax levy for the Ski Run Business Improvement District.

• Approved a subdivision map for Tahoe Woods, a 28 condominium housing project at 3987 Cedar Avenue. A spokesman for the project said construction will start next week with units available by Sept. 1.

• Adopted a draft 2014 housing element update. The document is required by California law to guide the city’s housing policy decisions.

• Approved a plan to end the city’s languishing Great Ideas for Tahoe donation program and spend the money remaining in its different funds. Money will be used for youth sports programs, ice arena and senior center repairs, dog park benches, creating an archery program and benches at the Children’s Memorial Tree. City officials said they will bring back a new donation policy for review and approval.

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