South Tahoe officials turn to Douglas for airport funding |

South Tahoe officials turn to Douglas for airport funding

Susie Vasquez

MINDEN – Mayor Tom Davis of South Lake Tahoe will ask Douglas County commissioners to provide funding for the operation of the city’s airport tower.

The Federal Aviation Agency decreased its annual funding for the tower by more than $120,000 and South Lake Tahoe officials will have to fill in the financial gap, Davis said.

“The City Council recently increased airport landing fees to recover anticipated increases for tower operations,” Davis said. “But it is now clear these new revenues will not be sufficient to cover increased costs.

“The city has the money to operate the tower through Sept. 30, but without additional financing they will have to consider closing the tower,” Davis said.

City Manager David Jinkens said air traffic has increased to about 22,000 flights a year. Closure of the tower will mean a reduction of the larger commercial charter jets bound for Stateline casinos.

South Lake Tahoe officials are asking a number of entities, including Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, Harveys Resort Casino and El Dorado County, to contribute if they feel they benefit from the airport.

“We’re not angry or upset, but we simply can’t fund the tower based on current revenues,” Jinkens said. “We understand that governments and businesses are facing challenges.

“We appreciate the fact that (Commissioner) Tim Smith and (County Manager) Dan Holler placed our item on the Douglas County agenda for consideration,” Jinkens said.

In other business:

— Douglas County commissioners received a reprimand from the attorney general’s office recently concerning an open meeting law violation. They could decide on a response, based on Thursday’s discussion.

Douglas County resident Bob Allgeier filed the complaint in early June after Commissioner Jacques Etchegoyhen asked other commissioners to consider funding for the W.B. Park property on the East Fork of the Carson River, at a February hearing.

Etchegoyhen was a land use consultant for the park.

Following instructions from District Attorney Scott Doyle, Etchegoyhen abstained from the vote and the measure passed, but Deputy Attorney General Neil Rombardo said the item was not agendized.

“Agenda items must be described in clear and complete detail so the public understands the topics to be discussed,” Rombardo said. “The public was not given proper notice because the projects included in the commission’s discussion and possible action were not identified.

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