The Placer County Board of Supervisors will hear comments on two resolutions asking voters to either approve or deny increased taxes affecting two specific areas of the county. One measure will ask voters to reauthorize the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) for the North Lake Tahoe area. The other will ask the North Auburn, Ophir and Lone Star communities to vote to either maintain or reduce their fire service levels. 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.
Due to the decrease in property tax revenues over the past several years, the North Auburn/Ophir Fire service area is facing a significant fiscal shortfall. Under current funding levels, it would exhaust all existing reserves within two years and needs an additional $570,000 in annual revenues in order to maintain current service levels.
If approved by four-fifths of the Board, both measures would be put before voters during the June 5, 2012, presidential primary election.
In 1996, Placer County voters approved an increase in the TOT from 8 percent to 10 percent. The 2 percent increase was renewed in 2002, with a sunset date of Sept. 30, 2012. The resolution being presented to the Board will renew the additional 2 percent until September 2022.
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;
- Shoreline cleanup; and
- Education Centers.
After the Board of Supervisors was briefed on the situation last December, staff was directed to take all necessary steps to offer the North Auburn/ Ophir community a method of ensuring its fire protection needs by voting to increase their existing special assessment. The assessment increase would be $40 per residential unit, $20 per mobile home and $0.046 per square foot of commercial/industrial space.