Cannabis, garbage fee increase, new mayor on SLT City Council agenda
There’s a jam-packed agenda for the upcoming South Lake Tahoe City Council meeting, which includes a decision on rate increases for garbage pickup, a vote on a temporary ban of recreational cannabis sales, and the appointment of a mayor for 2018, among other items.
The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 12, at 9 a.m. at the City Council chambers in the Lake Tahoe Airport.
GARBAGE RATE INCREASE
At Tuesday’s meeting, City Council will decide whether or not to approve a rate increase of 8.81 percent for residential garbage pickup and disposal in South Lake Tahoe as requested by contractor South Tahoe Refuse.
Starting Jan. 1, 2018, the rate for unlimited pick-up service in South Lake Tahoe would climb from $26.55 to $28.89, an increase of $2.34 per month.
Partner jurisdictions in the South Lake Tahoe Basin Waste Management Joint Powers Authority (JPA) would also see a rate increase. For pickup of one 32-gallon can, residents in the Tahoe Basin portion of El Dorado County would see a jump from $30.47 to $33.32, a rate increase of 9.34 percent. In the Tahoe Township of Douglas County, unlimited service would increase from $17.72 to $18.93, a 6.81 percent hike. These jurisdictions will vote on the increases separately.
The rate increase is the result of South Tahoe Refuse’s projected $1.3 million revenue shortfall for 2018 due, in part, to the expiration of a $4.7 million credit paid to ratepayers over a six-year period to compensate for excess rates during the construction of its resource recovery facility.
CANNABIS SALES BAN
South Lake Tahoe City Council will vote on a temporary urgency ordinance banning recreational cannabis retail sales, cultivation, edible production and testing for at least 45 days. At the end of this period, council could vote again to extend the temporary ban another 10 months and 15 days.
“In order to protect the public health, safety, and welfare, the City Council wishes to study and consider the impacts of adult-use (or recreational) cannabis uses, facilities and businesses … ” reads a report by city attorney Nira Doherty. “An initial period of 45 days will permit city staff to undertake an initial investigation of these matters and recommend a course of action to the City Council, while avoiding the potential adverse impacts of further medical and adult use cannabis facilities, as the city develops permanent regulations.”
California released its baseline state regulations for cannabis on Nov. 16. Local jurisdictions can enact stricter guidelines, even ban certain cannabis activities altogether.
Councilmember Tom Davis, one of the representatives on the cannabis subcommittee tasked with crafting regulations, said they have no plans to ban recreational cannabis sales altogether, but there will be additional local regulations and taxes.
Following the passage of Prop. 64 in November 2016, individuals can use and possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis, as well as cultivate up to six plants in a private residence — all allowances that cannot be revoked through local regulations.
TRACKING ILLEGAL VHRS
The city of South Lake Tahoe is turning to a third-party service to track down unpermitted vacation home rentals, collect unpaid lodging taxes, and handle complaint calls.
Back in September, Host Compliance presented to City Council, providing an overview of the software it uses to scan the nearly 25 different booking websites for VHRs — like Airbnb and VRBO — and determine which properties are unpermitted, haven’t been paying transient occupancy tax (TOT), or have been under-reporting their revenue to pay less TOT. The company sends out letters to the offenders requesting compliance or payment on behalf of the city. Host Compliance also provides a 24-hour call center to handle complaints.
City Council will vote on whether to hire Host Compliance for an annual cost of $118,400 — $34,000 of which pays for the 24-hour call center.
Host Compliance currently works with 70 cities and counties across the country, including Placer County and Truckee.
MEET YOUR MAYOR
City Council will elect a mayor and mayor pro tem for 2018 at Tuesday’s meeting. Austin Sass has been the mayor for the past year, while Wendy David has served as mayor pro tem.
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Thirty-two percent of cannabis complaints couldn’t be confirmed in Nevada County because of locked gates, fences and other visual obstructions.