Placer County voters who live in the North Auburn, Ophir and Lone Star communities will have the opportunity in the June 5, 2012 presidential primary election to decide their level of fire and emergency medical service. On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved a resolution that will put a measure on the ballot for an increase in taxes for the area.
Should voters approve the increase to the special assessment, the fire district would be able to maintain current service levels at least through fiscal year 2020/21. If the increase is rejected by the district’s voters, firefighter reductions will have to occur by January 2013, resulting in fewer call responses, increased response times and potential impacts to insurance rates.
A vote to maintain fire service levels will be a vote to increase the existing special assessment for fire protection, emergency medical and fire prevention services and equipment replacement for the North Auburn/Ophir Fire service area. Under current funding levels, the district would exhaust all reserves within two years and needs an additional $570,000 in annual revenues to maintain current service levels. The assessment increase would be $40 per residential unit, $20 per mobile home in mobile home parks and $0.046 per square foot of commercial/industrial space.
The Placer County Board of Supervisors also approved another resolution that will put a measure on the June ballot asking North Lake Tahoe area residents to renew the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) for the North Lake Tahoe area. An additional 2 percent TOT is collected on rooms in the area. Since the increase was initially approved in 1996, funds that have been collected have been used for many infrastructure projects. Several business owners and community leaders from the North Lake Tahoe area spoke in support of the resolution the Board approved.
Both resolutions were approved by a four-fifths vote of the Board. The TOT measure requires a simple majority vote for passage. The Fire assessment measure will require a two-thirds majority by voters.
The TOT funds in North Lake Tahoe have been used for the North Lake Tahoe Tourism Development Master Plan, as well as improving infrastructure. Since its approval, about $20 million has been used for capital project and for leveraging $164 million in other federal, state and local funds. An additional $7 million has been used for improvements to transit systems. Some of the projects that have been funded in whole or part by the TOT include:
- Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Project;
- Tahoe City Transit Center;
- Area signage;
- Beach, hiking and bicycling trail and park improvements;
- Museums and education centers; and
- Shoreline cleanup.