North Tahoe tourism numbers rising, so are food stamp applications | SierraSun.com

North Tahoe tourism numbers rising, so are food stamp applications

Staff report

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — As the number of permanent residents in eastern Placer County has declined in recent years, second home ownership and tourism is on the rise.

That was among key points shared with the Placer County Board of Supervisors on April 19 in a presentation on services, programs, and projects delivered to Tahoe-area residents.

The presentation was provided by Deputy Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Merchant during the board's meeting at Squaw Valley.

"Revenue generated in eastern Placer County looks very healthy, thanks to North Lake Tahoe area property taxes, which saw a 9 percent increase since last fiscal year, in part attributable to growth in the number of second homes in the region," according to a Placer County news release.

North Tahoe's transient occupancy tax revenue also increased, according to the county, to over $12 million for fiscal year 2014-15.

Further, tourism as a whole to North Lake Tahoe region is rising, according to the county, growing from 822,000 visitors in 2002 to 1,037,000 people in 2012.

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While tourism numbers and associated revenue are trending up, county officials pointed to concerns regarding the local full-time population.

For example, the number of applications to the CalFresh (formerly known as food stamps) program more than doubled over a five-year period in eastern Placer County, with 2,020 applications in 2010 growing to 4,430 applications in 2015.

County staff reportedly expect the number of applications to grow in the current fiscal year.

"The increase in permanent residents needing social services is very concerning," District 5 Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery said in a statement. "We need to understand how to address this in eastern Placer County and understand how it relates to a lack of affordable housing and economic opportunities."

IN OTHER NEWS

Placer County's partnership with the town of Truckee's animal shelter has been "a great success," according to the county.

"In its first six months, Tahoe region field patrol time has increased 33 percent, 28 percent fewer citations were issued, owners of 32 animals saved $300 each using the new spay and neuter program, two animals were reunited with their owners under the "free ride home" program and over $75,000 in taxpayer costs have been saved," according to Merchant's presentation.

Further, the Tahoe Area Regional Transit system "continues to be a shining success story with significant growth over the last 10 years," officials said — with a fleet of 17 buses providing an annual ridership of 322,000 people, at $4.7 million in operating costs.

Visit placer.ca.gov/departments/lake-tahoe to learn more about the North Tahoe area of Placer County.