Effort to create town of Olympic Valley moves ahead
December 31, 2013
To learn more about the effort to incorporate Olympic Valley or to donate, visit incorporateolympicvalley.org.
OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — The effort to make Olympic Valley a California town has taken a major step forward.
On Dec. 19, Incorporate Olympic Valley submitted a formal application — which outlines town boundaries and public service providers, among other details — and a $25,000 deposit to the Placer County Local Agency Formation Committee.
The committee now will determine if the application is complete and initiate studies to gauge the viability of the proposed town.
"We're surely excited to pass this milestone of getting the application submitted," said Peter Schweitzer, chair of Incorporate Olympic Valley. "It's a huge step forward."
An analysis done by Temecula, Calif.-based Willdan Financial Services found that the proposed town — which would have identical boundaries to the Squaw Valley Public Service District's fire responsibilities — is viable.
Incorporate Olympic Valley financed the study. Willdan estimates the town of Olympic Valley would generate $484,000 in annual surplus, based on $4.74 million in annual revenue — mainly from transient occupant tax and property taxes — and $4.26 million in expenses.
LAFCO will commission a separate comprehensive analysis to determine fiscal viability, however.
"We look forward to a positive comprehensive fiscal analysis that will prove to LAFCO we can stand on our own as a separate town," said Fred Ilfeld, an Incorporate Olympic Valley board member, in a statement.
Negotiations on a revenue agreement between Incorporate Olympic Valley and Placer County must also take place to ensure incorporation doesn't harm the county financially.
"It's equivalent to alimony," Ilfeld explained.
Afterward, public hearings would be held, with LAFCO eventually voting to approve, deny or conditionally approve incorporation.
If approved, an election would follow in which a simple majority — more than 50 percent of Olympic Valley registered voters — must vote in favor for incorporation to take effect.
A separate election would be held to determine a five-member town council, said Schweitzer. Incorporate Olympic Valley hopes one, if not both elections, can take place by November 2014.
"I am optimistic that we will become a town," Ilfeld said.
This effort comes at a cost. Incorporation is estimated to cost $105,000 in analysis fees and attorney costs, among other expenses, according to Incorporate Olympic Valley. As of Thursday, $56,000 had been raised, according to the group's website.
"Our job is to incorporate so people can have a say in the valley," Ilfeld said.
According to previous reports, incorporation was triggered in part by a Squaw Valley village expansion proposal that called for 1,093 additional lodging units, 2,184 bedrooms, and the elimination of the Member's Locker Room and Olympic House, among other changes.
Recently, a scaled-back village proposal was unveiled, which includes reducing lodging units to 750, bedrooms to 1,493, and preserving the Member's Locker Room and Olympic House.
Those project changes will not impact the incorporation effort, Schweitzer said.
"At the end of the day, incorporation is about control of tax revenue and improved services for residents, visitors and homeowners," he said. "It's also about control of land use and development."