Sunday, May 18, 2008

SLT City Manager's report -- May 12, 2008

Electronic Version
May 12, 2008


“In matters of style, swim with the current.
In matters of principle, stand like a rock.
Thomas Jefferson

“It is immensely moving when a mature person…is aware of the responsibility for the consequences of his conduct and really feels responsibility with heart and soul…”
Max Weber
In this Edition:

State Budget – “The Empire Strikes Back?”
Tahoe Transportation District Moving On
Harrison Avenue Options – Balancing it All
Anti Gang and Anti Graffiti Presentation Ready
Bi-State Fire Commission Recommendations – Keeping us Fire Safe
Parking on Venice Drive – Cooperation Needed
Expansion of Business Opportunities on Ski Run Boulevard

STATE BUDGET UPDATE – “The Empire Strikes Back?”
(Quoted portion below reprinted from the League of California Cities)

In the April 8, 2008 edition, the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) was proposing stripping cities and counties of Safety Sales Tax funds to fund probation. This anti-safety initiative has been vigorously resisted by the League of California Cities and city councils (including South Lake Tahoe) throughout the State. As you will now see below, the LAO now has some new ideas to balance the State budget. Pitting local government entities against one another is not a solution; it is a sad state of affairs.
“Legislative Analyst's Revised Parole Realignment Proposal Includes Take of City VLF Funds
In a May 5 letter to Senate Budget Committee Chair Denise Moreno Ducheny (D-San Diego), the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) submitted a revised proposal on how the Legislature could successfully transition the supervision responsibilities of state parolees to counties. The LAO's revised proposal contains various suggested modifications governing the number of parolees eligible, excluding those with prior violent convictions, and alternatives for revoking parole.
In the LAO's original proposal, the state would fund the realignment of parole services from the state to counties with $178 million (all) of city Proposition 172 public safety funds, $188 million of property taxes shifted from water and waste enterprise special districts to counties, and taking $130 million in administrative revenues from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The League and the California Police Chiefs Association vigorously oppose the idea to take city public safety dollars, and the special districts strongly defended their property taxes.
The LAO's May 5 letter contains an "alternative financing" proposal that includes two basic features:
1) Shifting Vehicle Licensing Fee (VLF) revenue that currently goes to cities (estimated by the LAO at $149 million) and the DMV (estimated by the LAO at $363 million) to the counties to support state parole realignment. (To simplify, for cities VLF revenue for FY 07-08 amounts to about $4.50 per capita plus special allocations for inhabited annexations since 2004.)
2) Shifting all property tax revenues currently going to water and wastewater enterprise special districts to counties and giving counties the option to: a) offset some or all city VLF losses, b) supplement county resources for the new parole responsibilities, c) use funds to contract back with special districts for water/waste disposal services, or d) give property tax reductions to taxpayers.
The League is continuing to analyze this proposal, including its potential legality. Whatever the policy merits of shifting state parole responsibility to county probation, the LAO's initial financing proposal, as well as the May 5 revision, serves as a stark reminder to local governments that a perspective still exists among some in Sacramento that the state's budget priorities supersede all community priorities and conditions. Proposals which attempt to pit cities, counties and special districts against each other for the state's gain should be strongly rejected.”(My emphasis)”

The Director of Public Works reports on the following actions of the TTD:

• The TTD is requesting that each public agency fund future TTD staffing and operations in the amount of $10K annually. More information on the specifics will go to the elected board members on the TTD.
• The TTD would like to purchase used trolleys from the City of Detroit and have the City utilize its AQ Mitigation Funds for the purchase of one of the units. The vehicles are supposed to be in good shape and Detroit is asking about $29K each.
• The City of South Lake Tahoe is in the process of purchasing new CNG buses. North Shore members of the TTD discussed mechanical concerns regarding the CNG engines as they have had considerable problems.
• Apparently there are 22 vehicles that are no longer operative that are parked at the City’s Transit Corporation Yard or at a ATM leased facility that need to be disposed of. 2 of those are owned by the TTD and their disposal was approved today.
• The City’s request for CMAQ ($1.8 million) funds for the Pioneer Trail Pathway and the Sierra Boulevard Intersection were not approved. Instead, funds were approved for El Dorado County in the amount of $850K for Sawmill and LTBLVD Bike Trail and $200K for Blue Go fair boxes and outreach. The remaining $750K will be dispersed in October when a new allocation of CMAQ funds will be received. As the remaining funds are not sufficient to fully fund either project we submitted, we will re-apply when the new allocation is received in October.

As previously reported and discussed in management observation reports, the TTD needs to make a presentation to the City Council that discusses their goals and plans for the future and how their work will improve the delivery of transportation services to the City and Region within available revenue and what steps they plan to take to attract new Federal and State revenues for system operations. Requests for funding from TTD participants will need to be made of the budget process. In addition, to the extent that City government is being asked to use City Air Quality Mitigation funds for purchase of vehicles for TTD activities, the City Council should get a complete picture of the request and value to City residents before committing these dollars.

City staff is examining the previously scavenged busses operated by ATM to determine who salvaged the parts and where the parts went. The current operator of the system and previous operator have been contacted.

As I reported briefly to the City Council, City staff met recently with staff of CTC to discuss the status of possible alternatives for the improvement of Harrison Avenue. A new round of meetings with owners and operators of businesses there need to be held to discuss further improvement options and the associated costs and benefits.

During the next round of discussions with business owners and operators on Harrison we all agree that it is important for us to fully discuss with them design issues, the costs of improvements (e.g. curb and gutter, sidewalks, parking, lighting, landscaping) and the opportunities and challenges facing local business there with any option.

While there is opportunity for grant funds to make improvements in this area, City government and funding agencies need to be sensitive to and have insight about the issues facing business owners and operators. These are not the best of times for local businesses, and government officials and staff need to clearly understand these issues before proposing changes to the area. A reasonable question for business operators to ask, is how the proposed improvements help business and help them to better serve the public?

While improvements discussed in the past for Harrison Avenue would have cosmetic benefits, we now understand and appreciate that Harrison Avenue is a functioning business area and changes should not jeopardize existing businesses or the solvency of the area.


The Police Chief and Police Department personnel have been working with School District officials and community members to take steeps that appropriately discourage the growth of gangs and graffiti in the community. Effective anti-gang and anti-graffiti measures involve a wide variety of groups and organizations who work cooperatively with the Police Department.

Chief Daniels and Department personnel now are ready to make a presentation to the City Council on these anti-gang and anti-graffiti efforts and further steps that may be needed. All of us want to see our youth lead productive and useful lives and grow into being responsible adults. In doing so, we are also mindful that all segments of our community cannot and should not tolerate any developing gang and graffiti activity. Alternatives to anti-social activities must be found and promoted and underage violators and their parents must be held accountable for their acts. Gangs and graffiti have no place in South Lake Tahoe and must be discouraged and driven out.


I’ve asked the Fire Chief to provide the City Council with a summary of the findings of the Bi-State Fire Commission and to identify the significant policy actions that are needed to fully and completely support fire prevention in the City and Basin. Now that the Commission has completed its work, local governments must work collectively to ensure that proposed changes are made by regulatory agencies and we must enlist the support of State legislators, the Governor, and the Federal government to achieve this important public safety objective. Catastrophic fire that results from poor fuels management practices must never occur again.


The City Council held a productive and engaging conversation on the parking of boats and trailers on Venice Drive east of Tahoe Keys Boulevard at its last regular meeting on May 6, 2008. The issue that has been raised in the past that the currently parking arrangement has boats and trailers parking on both sides of the street that block pedestrian and bicycle lanes and have motor vehicles parked close to environmentally sensitive waters.

The City Council instructed the City Manager to contact adjacent land and business owners and operators to meet in the near term to come up with alternatives to the current parking situation that address outstanding problems, do not impair business operations, protect pedestrians and bicyclists, protect adjacent neighborhoods, are cost neutral to City government and are environmentally friendly. The City Council believes that by all parties working cooperatively and discussing these issues, we can arrive at a mutually agreeable approach that avoids City government being forced to put in place further restrictions on parking in the area. Notification of Council action and a request to meet was made on May 6th by the City Manager.


City government and the RDA own buildable parcels on Ski Run Boulevard and Ski Run and Highway 50 that have great potential to be developed for commercial or other business purposes. This office will bring forward to the City Council and RDA at their meeting of May 20, 2008 a proposal to allow City staff to develop a competitive request for proposals and begin solicitations for developing the subject vacant properties to improve business activity on Ski Run, better utilize vacant land, and generate jobs and new sales tax revenues.

City Manager

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