Andy Wirth, Olympic Valley group disagree on fiscal report
CORRECTION: This article has been updated from an earlier version to report the correct spelling of Fred Ilfeld’s name.
Visit placer.ca.gov/departments/lafco to view the preliminary draft comprehensive fiscal analysis for the proposed town of Olympic Valley.
If you go
What: Public workshop on the draft CFA
Where: Tahoe City Public Utility District, 221 Fairway Drive, Tahoe City
When : 5:30 p.m., June 10
OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — Incorporating Olympic Valley appears financially infeasible, a preliminary study has determined — but that could change based on input and future negotiations.
The proposed town of Olympic Valley would run a deficit over an eight-year period starting July 1, 2016, the assumed effective date of incorporation, according to scenarios run by RSG, the financial consultant that produced the draft fiscal analysis released late last week.
For months Andy Wirth, president/CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, and the group Save Olympic Valley have been vocal in their skepticism of incorporation, questioning the proposed town’s economic viability and service levels.
The group — a coalition of valley residents, business owners and property owners that receives major funding from Squaw Valley Ski Holdings — has also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to challenge the incorporation effort.
On Friday, Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows issued a statement from Wirth that praised the report, saying: “The independent study confirms the prevailing wisdom that creating a town of 500 people, based on one revenue source and dependent on tourism and weather conditions, doesn’t make sense.”
“The report is credible, uses sound methodology and reasonable assumptions,” he also said. “Under all scenarios considered, incorporation is not feasible … moving forward would be a risky venture…”
IOV: ‘Deeply flawed report’
Meanwhile, the group heading the incorporation effort, Incorporate Olympic Valley, has found faults with the draft CFA.
“It’s a very negative report,” said Fred Ilfeld, chair of Incorporate OV Foundation, a financial arm of IOV. “We’re very, very disappointed … they are getting things wrong.
“ … This is a deeply flawed report.”
One major fault is that five of the six cities and towns used for analysis — Placerville, Nevada City, Auburn, Angels Camp and Truckee — are not comparable to the proposed town of Olympic Valley, he said.
“They (are) full-service cities, meaning they (have) their own fire department, their own police department, often times their own sewer and waste, and that inflates the number of employees enormously, inflates attorney costs, inflates insurance cost, and (RSG) based their figures on those six towns,” Ilfeld said.
The town of Olympic Valley is proposed to be a “contract town,” Ilfeld said, contracting with other agencies for services, including law enforcement, animal services, and parks and recreation.
IOV plans to present its findings in the coming weeks to Placer County Local Agency Formation Commission staff, Ilfeld said.
Change is possible
Any comments or suggested revisions by IOV, Placer County and members of the public will be considered, according to Placer County LAFCO.
The CFA will then be used by IOV and Placer County representatives in alimony-like discussions — referred as “revenue neutrality negotiations” — which have yet to begin.
“It is possible that the final document will change significantly as a result of the revenue neutrality negotiations and public input,” Kristina Berry, Placer County LAFCO executive officer, wrote in the CFA cover letter. “These changes may affect the findings on feasibility, favorably or unfavorably.”
Ilfeld said as long as the town is feasible and desirable, IOV will continue the incorporation process.
“Obviously, this report very much calls that into question, but I feel optimistic that when we get to the final CFA, it will show the town to be fiscally viable,” he said.
Wirth, however, is doubtful.
“There aren’t enough pencils and erasers in the world to make the numbers work,” he said in a statement.
The proposed town also requires an environmental impact report, although that process won’t likely begin until the fiscal analysis process finishes and shows the town financially viable, Ilfeld said.
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