What would happen to TRPA?
Yet another facet of government facing the impact of a Lake Tahoe secession is the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s governing board.
The board overseeing the bi-state environmental agency is made up of 14 voting members, equally divided between California and Nevada.
If the Tahoe Citizens Committee is successful in forming Tahoe County, one local government would encompass the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe instead of the three there are now – Douglas, Washoe and Carson counties.
Kelly Krolicki, TCC executive coordinator, said the group would like to see two representatives appointed from the new county and one from the Nevada State Legislature.
But any change to the make-up of the Board of Governors – which is specifically outlined in the agency’s compact – would require the vote of both the California and Nevada Legislatures as well as the U.S. Congress, said TRPA spokeswoman Pam Drum.
The compact was originally created in 1969, and was amended once in 1980, she said.
“I don’t think it will be a problem (to change the compact) because we are not fundamentally changing the power structure,” said Michael Jabara, TCC chairman.
Don Miner, who serves on the board as Douglas County’s representative, said it would only be fair for the new county to pick up the three seats.
“The way the compact is laid out, only those jurisdictions that touch Lake Tahoe have representation,” he said. “I would see the new county getting three seats, or seceding from the TRPA.”
Allowing the three valley governments to remain on the board could get sticky, Miner said
“That would establish such an awkward precedent,” he said. “California counties who don’t touch Lake Tahoe might also want to have representation.”
However, he said he does not think adding a Nevada Legislature representative, as the TCC suggested, would cause any conflicts.
Another possible option could be the addition of a 15th TRPA member to represent Tahoe County.
But there are serious potential problems with that idea as well, according to Commissioner Jim Galloway, Washoe County’s appointee.
“There is a careful balance between Nevada and California representatives,” he said. “California would probably not be agreeable to increasing the number of votes in Nevada.”
However, he said he believes that Douglas and Washoe counties have a vested interest in Lake Tahoe because of its proximity, and therefore are more entitled to TRPA representation than any other counties in Nevada.
While not expressing his own opinion, he added that any change would have some affect on the governing board.
“(Three Tahoe County representatives) would increase the amount of local representation on TRPA,” Galloway said. “Some will be pleased, but some will think that was not the intent of the TRPA.”
Nevada’s current representation on the board consists of the three county representatives, an appointee from Gov. Bob Miller, one from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, an appointee of the Nevada secretary of state. Those six elect a seventh at-large member – currently casino executive Steve Wynn.
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