Supervisors approve ballot measures, allocate unspent TOT revenue

Staff Report

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The Board of Supervisors on Monday approved a pair of measures that will placed on the November ballot asking for transient occupancy tax rate hikes and also allocated unspent TOT revenue to local fire departments and Tahoe Transportation District.

The Board unanimously approved two ballot measures at a special meeting that will ask voters to support raising the TOT rate from 10% to 12% on the West Slope and from 10% to 14% in the Lake Tahoe area.

The 4% increase, which requires a two-third vote to approve, would generate approximately $2.5 million, the county said based on last year’s figures, that would be used for road maintenance and snow removal.

TOT revenues, also referred to as a hotel/motel tax, fund the impacts of tourism, economic development, and are used in support of tourism and promotion activities and veterans programs in the county.

The board also provided direction with unspent TOT revenue.

“The county is in a unique position of having a considerable amount of unspent TOT revenue from the current budget year,” said Board Chair Lori Parlin. “As a result, even with an eye toward the increase in inflation and interest rates which may result in an economic downturn, the Board is pleased to make significant allocations to our fire district partners throughout the county and the Tahoe Transportation District which is impacted by the influx of 20 million visitors annually.”

The county said TOT revenue has increased from $2 million to $8 million over the last six years and 78% comes from the Tahoe area.

County Administrative Officer Don Ashton projects $8.25 million and $5.9 million fund balance (unspent allocations and revenue in excess of funds from 2021-22) providing a total of $14 million for allocation for 2022-23.

The Board agreed to meet the prior year’s commitment of $6.4 million and directed the remaining $7.6 million to fulfill requests including:

— Fallen Leaf Lake CSD Fire – Equipment

— Lake Valley Fire – Direct Response Cost and Equipment

— North Tahoe and Meeks Bay Fire – Equipment

— El Dorado County Fire – Direct Response Cost and Equipment

— El Dorado Hills Fire – Equipment

— Diamond Springs Fire – Equipment

— West Slope Four Fire District – Equipment

— Tahoe Transportation District (Paratransit Service and Microtransit Service)

— Tahoe Ambulance JPA Building Construction

— Tahoe Paradise Park Bike Path Restrooms

— DOT Additional Snow Plow/Road Maintenance Funding

— DOT Class I Bike Path Snow Removal

— Sheriff Helicopter operation and maintenance for one year

— Treasurer Tax Collector TOT Collection Program Cost Recovery

— Diamond Springs Sports Complex

— Chili Bar Resort Cleanup and Restoration

“This direction appropriately allows for 55% of the TOT revenue to be allocated to our partners and county operations in the Tahoe area which historically is responsible for the vast majority of tourism in El Dorado County,” Parlin said. “Of the remaining funds, 30% will be provided to county departments and entities and 14% specifically to the West Slope to help offset the increasing impact of tourism to our county.”

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