Time running out on city’s refinance | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Time running out on city’s refinance

South Lake Tahoe is trying to jump on the interest-rate bandwagon as it contemplates refinancing its redevelopment debt.

The topic will come up 2 p.m. Tuesday during the Redevelopment Agency’s public hearing set in council chambers at 1900 Lake Tahoe Blvd.

The agency wants to refinance a $12 million bond principal at an interest rate not to exceed 7 percent. The formula has not been drafted yet, but conservative estimates would boost the agency’s funds by $375,000 in fiscal year 2002-03.

The plan has been in the works for months, but now the agency is trying to beat the clock — to secure a low, long-term rate and circumnavigate anticipated legislation.

State Sen. John Burton, the Democratic majority leader from San Francisco, has proposed an 18-month moratorium on redevelopment financing as of Jan. 10 as part of an alternative mid-year budget concession.

The state is experiencing a $34 billion shortfall, and cuts are around the corner.

The city is counting on the money saved in refinancing to help complete improvements to the Park Avenue Redevelopment Project area, where two Marriott timeshares are the anchors. Failure to finish the upgrades places the agency at risk of being in default of the public-private agreement between the parties invested at Park Avenue.

Regarding business across the street, the City Council may also increase vehicle-code penalties at the Crescent V Shopping Center from $25 to $50 at its 6 p.m. session Tuesday. The city has recommended doubling the parking fines because it has determined the current level is too low to serve as a deterrent to motorists who encroach on the merchants’ parking spaces ideally used by shoppers.

The city, as an agreement with the shopping center and Heavenly Ski Resort, has recently adopted a stopgap parking plan in which Marriott employees use the complex spaces, and Heavenly snow enthusiasts take 150 slots in the lot alongside Highway 50 and shuttles from behind Stateline casinos.

Otherwise, a two-hour limit is set for parking at the busy shopping center.

The city hopes to gain more revenue from the hike in parking fines, along with future funds through its fee-based garage now under construction at the Marriott complex. It’s due for completion in March.

For those flying into South Lake Tahoe, the City Council may also approve Tuesday night an increase in labor costs to support the airport’s air traffic control tower. The hike in annual costs of $3,766 is about $500 more than the amount previously budgeted. Serco Management Services of Murfreesboro, Tenn., provides the tower services.

In other city business, the council may decide on uniform, citywide standards and policies for commercial street and pedestrian lighting.

The city also wants visitors to find their way to Tahoe if they’re not intercepted by a proposed casino at Shingle Springs.

The Indian casino is the target of controversy and anticipated lawsuits in the West Slope section of El Dorado County, which as a government, has considered filing legal action against it. Private litigation may also be filed by the citizens group — Voices for Rural Living, and the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce “appears to be positioning itself to support in some form litigation against the casino,” City Manager David Jinkens said.

Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at swood@tahoedailytribune.com

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