Measure M would up annual fee for needed snow removal equipment; Special meeting Wednesday night
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — El Dorado County residents will be asked to vote in March on a measure that could raise taxes to pay for snow removal equipment and services.
Measure M is a parcel fee for snow removal on county lots. Since 1983, residents pay $20 a year which generates about $134,000 a year but that amount is no longer enough for the county to keep up with equipment costs.
“Since 1983, the equipment cost has risen over 400%,” said Matt Moody, highway superintendent for El Dorado County. “That’s made it really hard to keep up with our equipment here.”
Moody said its costs about $500,000 for a new grader and $600,000 for a new snow blower. He also said five of their seven blowers are over 40 years old.
The new measure would increase the annual fee to $80 and that money could only be used for snow equipment not salaries or benefits.
“Last winter, which wasn’t a big winter at all compared to what we’ve seen over the years up in Tahoe, we had 100% of our blowers down at one time so it’s very imperative for us to get newer equipment so we can keep running during these heavy snow storms,” Moody said.
On top of reliability, environmental issues are also a reason to replace the fleet.
“About 93% of our snow removal equipment is deemed gross polluters by the state of California so we’re hoping to get the new equipment with the newer engines that meets the requirements for the clean air,” Moody said.
Moody estimates that replacing the entire fleet would be about $9 million so if the measure gets passed, it would take several years to get everything they need.
While it can sometimes be hard to convince voters to vote to pay more money, Moody reminds people this is a public safety issue.
“When we get heavy snows up here, clearing the roads for the public to get in and out is definitely a safety issue,” Moody said.
There’s also the convenience side of not having to be stuck inside during a storm.
Measure M will be on El Dorado County’s March ballot.