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Sales tax measure gains support

JOHN A. BAYLESS

The Truckee Downtown Merchants Association and CARE both voiced support this week for Measure A on the April 14 municipal election ballot.

If passed, Measure A will establish a half-cent sales tax exclusively for the purpose of improvement and maintenance of Truckee’s “backbone” roads.

The downtown merchants association voted 8-0 to support the sales tax measure Tuesday.

“The TDMA is supporting the ballot measure because we feel that, after three years of discussion and study, the measure is the best available funding source to achieve the town goals of maintaining and improving the most critical road segments in Truckee’s road system,” TDMA member Steve Frisch wrote in a press release Tuesday.

Spreading out the burden

“Measure A will give the residents of Truckee the opportunity to improve our road system while maintaining the flexibility we require if conditions change in the future,” the release stated, adding that the measure will spread out the tax burden to include visitors and generate significant tax revenue.”

Ron Hemig, principal officer of CARE, confirmed Wednesday that the board had agreed to support the sales tax.

“CARE will support it,” Hemig said. “We took a position that we will support it. However, we want to know more about it as an organization and become more involved.” The CARE board voted unanimously to support the tax.

The downtown merchants association and CARE joined other organizations which have already put their support behind the measure, including the Truckee-Donner Chamber of Commerce and the Tahoe Donner Homeowners Association.

“The chamber board also voted 9-0 to support it,” Chamber President and CEO Rachelle Pellissier said.

“In the overall sense, our board felt it would not hurt 99 percent of the businesses, and we’ve got to do something about the roads.” She said she plans to organize a luncheon in March for members of the community to meet and discuss the issue.

A representative of the Tahoe Donner Homeowners Association said Wednesday that the association also supports the measure, and will issue a public statement on it soon.

If approved, the half-cent increase will be used to maintain and upgrade the “backbone” roads of the community. It would be used as the funding mechanism for a defined 32-mile road system, including Alder Creek, Donner Pass, Donner Lake and Martis Valley roads; Glenshire Drive; Northwoods Boulevard; and main roads in the downtown area.

Money raised by the half-cent sales tax would go to a special fund, and could only be used to maintain the community’s roads. Normally towns can only direct sales tax revenue to the general fund, but special legislation spearheaded by Sen. Tim Leslie and Assemblyman Bernie Richter allowed the Town of Truckee to dedicate the tax specifically to road maintenance.

A funding system for road maintenance has been discussed by the town council since shortly after incorporation. A study by an outside consultant in 1994 resulted in a proposal that the town establish an assessment district, and charge a per-parcel annual fee to property owners for road maintenance.


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