Population decline: Latest census numbers show near-1,200 drop for Incline | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Population decline: Latest census numbers show near-1,200 drop for Incline

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. – Declining enrollment at public schools, vacant houses, a profusion of “For Rent” signs and abandoned storefronts have all painted a picture of a population exodus from the shores of the northeastern portion of Lake Tahoe.

That picture gained eye-opening substance with the recent release of 2010 U.S. Census statistics, which demonstrate Incline Village-Crystal Bay’s total population loss of 1,175 residents from 2000-2010. The current population, according to 2010 numbers, is 8,777 people, down 12 percent from the figure 10 years ago of 9,952.

Incline Village General Improvement District General Manager Bill Horn said the information not only isn’t surprising, it also fails to accurately represent a more alarming trend – Incline’s movement toward a community of second homeowners, rather than a thriving one with middle class residents capable of supporting local businesses on a year-round basis.

“The census data does not show the bigger issue, which is the increase in second-home ownership in Incline Village,” he said. “The schools have (approximately) 400 less kids in schools (from a decade ago) – that speaks volumes.”

Horn said he does see hope for the future of the Incline Village – and by extension, the rest of the Lake Tahoe Basin – in that many grassroots organizations have begun to formulate specific action-oriented plans for creating a sustainable community by balancing Tahoe’s oft-cited triple bottom line – entailing the need to protect Lake Tahoe’s unique ecology, providing a quality social environment for residents to thrive and providing business opportunities through tourism and other environment-friendly business sectors.

Washoe County Commissioner John Breternitz, who represents Incline Village as part of district 1, said the population decline will not have a direct impact on county services, as the county does not base services on population sizes.

Breternitz said services are in danger not due to census information, but instead the need to trim about $33.5 million from the county’s budget, with the impending possibility of the state of Nevada demanding an additional $26 million cut.

Kathy Carter, community relations director for Washoe County, said one area where population decline could impact relates to Incline’s community plan.

“Several years ago, we worked with the community to develop a community plan to determine how the community wanted to be complimentary and in compliance with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency,” she said. “With the economic decline which has seen a significant decline in the building industry, that plan is not as urgent as it once was, but I’m sure that when things begin to pick up again, the community will want to revisit that plan and may make some changes based on decreased population.”

Dick Minto, Washoe County roads supervisor, said he hasn’t noticed a population decline due to the status of Incline Village being a heavily frequented tourist destination.

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