Saturday, February 28, 2009

County courthouse dispute

unedited Tahoe Mt. News 1/09:

By Kathryn Reed

Marjorie Johnson Springmeyer may have the last word regarding the property her family gave to South Lake Tahoe for a city hall in 1967. The Johnson Boulevard site was subsequently leased to the county to build a jail and courthouse.
The descendant of one of the South Shore’s pioneer families has been calling City Manager Dave Jinkens about the issue since the Tahoe Mountain News brought the current dispute to light in December. On Dec. 30 Springmeyer left Jinkens’ a voicemail saying her attorney is now involved.
It’s possible it will take a judge to resolve the courthouse dispute.
Springmeyer stayed late into the afternoon Jan. 6 to tell the council in person just what she thinks of the whole matter. She spoke for about 20 minutes about the wrongs that past councils and county boards of supervisors have made.
For some reason the city and county are confused about whether the 5 acres that the county was supposed to give the city as payment for being able to use the “city hall” land was handed over and if they were, which 5 acres they are.
The city is researching the matter. Staff believes the county still owes the city 5 acres. The county disagrees.
The issue has resurfaced because the county per California law was planning to hand the building over to the state last month. However, a 1972 agreement between the city and county says the city must approve of any such transfer.
It took two years of correspondence before city and county staff finally met in person Dec. 18 in Placerville. At that meeting a letter was given to the city signed by Lesley Gomes, deputy county counsel.
In part it says, “The purpose of this letter is to reiterate the County’s position that the statutorily-mandated ‘transfer of responsibility’ of the court facility on Johnson Blvd. from the County to the State pursuant to the Trial Court Facilities Act is not subject to the City’s approval. Without waiving this position, in the spirit of cooperation and in the interest of furthering the objectives of the statutorily-mandated transfer, the County is hereby accommodating your request and formally seeking the City’s consent to the ‘transfer of responsibility’ for the court facility on Johnson Blvd.”
At the Jan. 6 City Council meeting the council was briefed on the matter. Jinkens and City Attorney Cathy DiCamillo will continue to research the issues pertaining to the deed of the property and the 1972 agreement. It’s likely the council will take some sort of action on the courthouse issue when it next meets Jan. 27.

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