Letter to the editor- City is now at crossroads | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Letter to the editor- City is now at crossroads

Tribune

To the editor:

I just can’t resist.

After a period of silence in the expression of my opinion on this city’s budget/financial condition, I can’t hold back any longer. Just when I thought that we can see the forest for the trees, the City Council again demonstrates it’s inability to face up to our problems. Facing a $2 million budget deficit, and with the economy showing all signs of a recession, we have to face reality. Our public services are cut to the bone. Fire equipment is old, the senior center is facing further deep cuts which will severely hamper it’s every-day operation, codes/ordinances can’t be enforced due to previous personnel cuts, and an airport which remains well-funded by our City, but also remains virtually a ghost town. Our streets are in poor shape, and now our City Manager is resigning after only 18 months.

After watching the council conduct business in recent weeks, it is clear to me that not a single one of them wants to face the words “tax increase.” Isn’t it interesting that three of the five current members have their seats up for election in a few months?

It is absolutely clear that revenues have to be drastically increased, and someone has to assume a leadership role in promoting this issue. Further, the $600,000 funding of the airport has to stop immediately. The Council/City Manager are considering cutting the senior center funding to a point where the steadily increasing number of senior citizens in our city will have nearly nothing left for them. As a past member of the Senior Citizens Board of Directors, I feel qualified to make this prediction.

What do I propose? Well, it’s fairly simple, but it will create the necessary funds. First, the TOT has to be increased from it’s current level of 10 percent to 12 percent. Secondly, the .25 percent increase in the sales tax is warranted. Third, a 20 percent decrease in funding directed to the LTVA and the Chamber of Commerce. The three to five percent cut recently proposed by Mr. Childs will just not be enough. Do not touch the seniors’ budget. And finally, a personal note to my friend and Mayor, Brooke Laine; please take the initiative and put a positive spin on these proposals, convincing the “power brokers” in our community to help carry these needed items to our voters for approval.

To the voters; if we fail to adopt these increases for needed revenues, we will no longer enjoy our city’s services without severe shortfalls, and shortages in personnel. We don’t need to play politics, we need common sense, and all of us need to share this burden. The airport is dead, and a huge liability. We won’t notice a .25 percent sales tax increase, nor will be directly affected by the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) increase, but we will notice the change in services available, or restored.

It’s a “life or death” decision whose time is here.

Jerry Oldenkamp

South Lake Tahoe, CA


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