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South Lake Tahoe discusses reopening, budget adjustments

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Lake Tahoe City Council spent a good portion of Tuesday’s meeting discussing reopening the city and aid for businesses and residents in the meantime.

Mayor Pro Tem Tamara Wallace and councilmember Brooke Laine helped lead the Short-Term Economic Recovery Task Force. One of the issues they tried to address was getting the community fed. They asked for almost $800,000 to fill food needs but after much discussion, the council decided money would be better spent on groups in the community that were already providing that service rather than starting a new service.

The council voted to give Interim City Manager Brad Kilger permission to give up to $50,000 to the five nonprofits in the community providing food. Then, during the council’s May meeting, they will consider giving more money to those groups if needed.

The council also discussed deferring business license renewal fees, which are due at the end of June, up to 60 days. This will be decided at the May 12 meeting.

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The council discussed reopening the city. With El Dorado County announcing the expiration of the shelter-in-place order at the end of April, the city must begin considering how to reopen. County health officer Nancy Williams shared a report at special supervisors meeting Tuesday that broke down reopening into phases.

The council is going to plan a meeting with the county to discuss reopening issues.

Councilmember Cody Bass recommended opening businesses to locals but sending a message that they would like to stay closed to tourism a little longer. However, City Attorney Heather Stroud confirmed that if the travel ban is lifted, the city can’t prevent travel into the region.

Council also discussed procedures to make sure businesses are COVID-19 safe and possibly providing hand sanitizer to them.

In other business, city staff presented the council with the 5-year budget, as well as mid-year budget adjustments.

Kilger said in this time doing the job, he’s never seen a mid-year budget with so many adjustments.

One topic was the state of CalPERS. Staff was expecting to see the increases to start leveling out but with the economic impacts of the virus, they are now anticipating a large jump in unfunded liability in 2022/2023.

Staff estimated about $2.3 million lost from transient occupancy tax and sales each summer month if the shelter-in-place remains. If the shelter-in-place is lifted, but the city only sees about 60% of tourism, they estimate a loss of $3.3 million through September.

To account for that potential loss, they recommended several adjustments, such as deferring projects and police vehicle purchases.

The council will continue to receive small monthly updates and another big update in July.

The council also approved several road rehabilitation projects. Public works will begin work to repave 3rd St., 4th St., and Pioneer Trail from Ski Run Blvd. to Blackwood.

Finally, the council approved a hangar pavement rehabilitation project for the airport. The pavement had outlived its lifespan and could end up costing the airport money down the line. The money will come from a loan, and while Mayor Jason Collin admits this isn’t the ideal time to spend more money, he was concerned about it being even more expensive later. Bass and Laine voted against the project.


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