Senate Finance OKs Tahoe bonds |

Senate Finance OKs Tahoe bonds

Staff reports

The Senate Finance Committee recommended passage of legislation issuing $56.4 million worth of bonds to help Lake Tahoe Tuesday on the condition any changes in the work be approved by lawmakers.

The committee heard Assembly Bill 285, which calls for general obligation bonds to pay for part of Nevada’s $82 million share of a $900 million restoration plan, on May 19. Instead of approving the plan, chairman Bill Raggio, R-Reno, complained the legislature was left out of the process and said he wanted concrete proof the other entities involved will provide the money they committed.

He said again Tuesday he wants assurance that California, the federal government, the Washoe Tribe and all the others involved in the plan will come through with their funding.

“There’s nothing in there that sets forth the dollar amount,” he said, referring to a letter of intent on the project. “The memorandum of understanding is a nice statement, but there’s nothing in there that makes a commitment.

“If we’re going to process this bill, there’s going to have to be some oversight,” he added. “I don’t want this to be a unilateral effort.”

A 1997 gathering that included President Clinton and Vice President Gore resulted in a $906 million plan for restoring Lake Tahoe’s clarity and protecting it from further degradation. Pam Wilcox, administrator of Nevada’s state lands division, said she’s got a list of $3.2 million worth of projects planned this year and needs legislative approval so bonds to fund it can be issued.

Raggio agreed to recommend the Tahoe bonds, but said any changes in the projects will have to be approved by the Legislature or the Interim Finance Committee if it’s not in session.

The committee gave unanimous approval to the change.

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