Special districts won’t support consolidation | SierraSun.com

Special districts won’t support consolidation

The special districts serving the Truckee area do not plan on consolidating under the town’s Sphere of Influence any time soon.

Officials from the Truckee Sanitary, Truckee Fire Protection, Truckee-Tahoe Airport, Truckee-Donner Public Utility, Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park and Tahoe Forest Hospital districts met Tuesday to discuss recent actions taken by Nevada County’s Local Area Formation Commission and the town regarding Truckee’s sphere of influence draft.

When the meeting adjourned, special district boards decided – some officially and some unofficially – to support a draft consolidation position presented by TDPUD General Manager Peter Holzmeister.

“Much has been assumed about the opinion of the special districts on this important matter (consolidation),” the draft reads. “In an effort to make their position clear, the board of directors of the special districts met March 18, 1997, and agreed to adopt the following statement as an expression of their collective opinion.”

The special districts agreed with the Truckee Town Council’s March 6 motion to remove the consolidation issue from the sphere of influence. “We believe the discussion of economy and efficiency in Truckee’s system of local governance is far too important to be merged in a sphere of influence report,” the proposal reads.

District officials also cited their long history of providing quality customer service to the area and the town’s four years of incorporation as arguments against consolidation.

“Currently services are being provided and the risk of disturbing these services should not be taken lightly,” Holzmeister said in the statement. “The Town of Truckee is a new service provider which may need more time to deal with the many issues already on its agenda.”

The statement supported by the districts also concluded now is an inappropriate time to look into consolidation. The districts supported a study in future, not on consolidation, but rather “a comprehensive evaluation of the structure, function, efficiency, effectiveness and viability of Truckee’s local governance and the services these entities provide.”

Finally, all district officials agreed after a complete and unbiased evaluation, the consolidation issue should be put to a vote of the people, questioning whether the town should remain incorporated and whether special districts should continue providing services. “The final decision should be made by all affected voters,” Holzmeister’s statement reads.

Specific actions to LAFCo to be taken by the districts identified in the statement include sending a letter supporting the town council’s decision to leave consolidation out of the sphere, regular meetings between town and district staffs, circulating research to the public supporting multiple governmental agencies working together is an efficient and effective structure and, at the appropriate time, a service evaluation be a joint, unbiased effort by the districts and the town.

TSD, TDPUD and the TTAD boards had quorums at the meeting and voted to support the statement with slight amendments.

TTAD board members unanimously approved supporting the statement. Directors did, however, express concern for leaving the topic of disincorporation out of the statement.

“Due to the fact that we are a bi-county entity whose principal county is Placer, in the board’s motion it stated its position that it would be inappropriate for the district to align itself with the recommendation that disincorporation be included in the draft document presented tonight,” TTAD General Manager Peter Soderquist said.

TTAD directors also requested an item be added to the statement that LAFCo hold a public meeting in Truckee with the special districts before rendering a final decision on the consolidation matter.

TDPUD directors voted 4-0 – board member Jim Maass absent – to support the statement. Director Pat Sutton, however, also requested a LAFCo meeting in Truckee with a complete agenda description of items to be discussed at that meeting in a secondary motion.

TSD also unanimously voted to support the draft statement. “The board goes along with what you said here,” TSD General Manager Oz Butterfield said.

Other district boards represented at Tuesday’s meeting that did not have a quorum to act officially supported the draft proposal. TFH, TDRPD and TFD will present the statement to their respective boards.

Truckee’s town council has consolidation on its Thursday, March 20, agenda as a public discussion under immediate council priorities. District officials agreed to attend the meeting and present the town with letters of their intent to support Holzmeister’s draft proposal.

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