New manager gets fast introduction to city’s hot-button issue |

New manager gets fast introduction to city’s hot-button issue

Susan Wood, Tahoe Daily Tribune
Dan Thrift/Tahoe Daily TribuneSouth Lake Tahoe Mayor Brooke Laine, left, passes a certificate of Appreciation to Dennis Harmon for his work on the SLT Redevelopment Park Avenue Project, the Heavenly Gondola and with the California State Travel and Tourism Commission on Tuesday in the council chambers.

From a house-hunting new chief in town to a land purchase at the Lake Tahoe Airport, rising property values touched the South Lake Tahoe City Council agenda Tuesday night.

The council unanimously approved the contract of new City Manager David Jinkens, Elk Grove’s first city manager after incorporating a few years ago.

The panel formally welcomed him before the community, and Jinkens obliged by coming forward. He starts work today.

His acknowledgement followed the city’s special recognition for former Heavenly Ski Resort President Dennis Harmon for his community service.

“I’m proud to be here, and I’m honored to be here. I hope it’s a positive relationship for the council and the community,” Jinkens said.

Under a five-year agreement, Jinkens will receive an annual salary of $110,000, two weeks each of “banked” vacation and sick leave, $200,000 of life insurance, up to $6,000 in moving expenses and a car allowance of $400 a month. Along with standard city employee benefits, professional memberships and training are also included in the package.

Jinkens had asked for a housing allowance, but he did not receive it, he said.

The Manteca consultant said he and his wife have been looking for three straight days last week to find comparable housing to their Central Valley home to no avail.

Rising property values also entered the seemingly painstaking discussion over whether the city should spend $98,083 in a 10 percent match to purchase two parcels at the Lake Tahoe Airport.

The council voted 4-to-1 in favor of the land purchase amounting to 28 acres and $946,200, with 90 percent to be paid for in federal funds.

Mayor Brooke Laine opposed the purchase and designation of matching funds, which also included project equipment costs.

Laine objected to a $150,000 hike in the appraised value in the last five years of one of the parcels.

“Once again, I go crazy with how airport matters are handled,” she said, adding the business deal showed a “sloppiness and unprofessionalism.”

But it was the increasing land value that may have cemented the council OK, with Councilman Hal Cole calling it a “good long-term investment.”

Under a pressing Federal Aviation Administration deadline to close grant funds, the airport commission wants the property to provide more visibility to tower control operators, among other uses, Airport Manager Mike Dikun said.

Beyond the obvious safety issue, Interim City Manager Sue Schlerf reminded the council of other ventures in the works at the airport, such as negotiations with El Dorado County Animal Control over a facility at the south side of town.

As to property valuable to cyclists on the north side of town, the City Council unaminously approved awarding a $484,846 bid to Gordon N. Ball, Inc. to build a critical bike link from Eloise Avenue over 15th Street to the U.S. Forest Service bike path to Camp Richardson. It is a four-year California Tahoe Conservancy project.

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