Measure Qeasily passes |

Measure Qeasily passes

Susan Wood

To South Lake Tahoe civic leaders pondering the election outcome on Wednesday, the voting community sent a loud and clear message – don’t fool with police and fire.

With Measure Q passing by 57.2 percent in all 10 precincts – still unofficial because of absentee ballots – the rate on retail goods within the city limits will increase from 7.25 percent to 7.75 on April 1.

The change amounts to a dime more on a $20 purchase.

In July, the city is set to start collecting the money in its general fund from a measure designed to keep public safety programs alive and well.

“We’re extremely happy with the community. It clearly leaves the council with the message – essential services are police and fire,” said Dennis Crabb, the South Shore attorney who served as the chairman for the Committee for a Quality Community.

Crabb was referring to the city’s year-to-year struggle with balancing its budget. For the 2004-05 fiscal year, the local government endured $3.1 million in cuts on marketing subsidies and a 10 percent reduction of staffing and services from each department.

The latest measure aims to collect a projected $1.8 million for city coffers annually. Come October 2006, city officials claim the money will become more necessary when Measure Z expires. That initiative placed a $1.50 surcharge on the motel room tax charged to guests.

Councilwoman Kathay Lovell, the incoming mayor on Dec. 7, took the message to heart from an electorate frustrated by ongoing city budget issues.

In a moment of reflection, she pulled out her campaign platform to remind herself of the commitment she gave a community dead set on maintaining core city services.

“We’re so excited about this measure passing,” she said. “We’ve talked the talk. Now we need to walk the walk. I’m thrilled the community has really rallied around this measure, and now the council needs to do what it says.”

Those who walk the city beat say they can breathe a little easier.

“This is a huge burden off my back,” said Chuck Owens, president of the South Lake Tahoe Police Officer’s Union.

– Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at

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