Truckee Town Council approves allocation of coronavirus funds
The Truckee Town Council unanimously approved allocating additional funds to the Nevada County Relief Fund during its Tuesday session.
Council agreed to provide $75,000 of its Coronavirus Economic Resiliency funding to the Nevada County Relief Fund, which will go toward providing grants to Truckee businesses impacted by recent restrictions.
Truckee has already provided help to several community support programs, including $155,000 last spring in funding to the Sierra Community House, Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe, and others.
The town has also contributed $50,000 to the Sierra Resilience Fund, which supports low-interest loan programs for impacted businesses. Additionally, $10,000 was contributed to the Nevada County Relief Fund, along with $242,000 in sales tax payments that have been deferred through the state’s deferral program.
The town’s largest business support program, thus far, has been the Truckee Winter Wonderland, which included 27 outdoor dining grants, expanded holiday lighting and decorations, and a pedestrian enclave at Victory Plaza.
Winter Wonderland, which is a partnership between the town, the chamber of commerce, the Truckee Donner Merchant Association, and the Sierra Business Council, was funded through a $400,000 coronavirus relief fund grant from the county and $400,000 in town funding.
“Unfortunately, with the current regional ICU capacity, restaurants have had to suspend outdoor dining under the temporary regional stay-at-home order,” said Truckee Management Analyst Hilary Hobbs. “In the interim, staff have been working with county Public Health to see if we can get approval to keep some of those downtown platform areas open as public seating.”
Of the $900,000 in approved budget for the Coronavirus Economic Resiliency fund, $810,000 was used on the Winter Wonderland project. Of the remaining $90,000 in the fund, the town approved $75,00 to be allocated to micro-grants for businesses through the Nevada County Relief Fund.
The Nevada County Relief fund recently launched a public fundraising drive for its fourth round of funding, which includes a $100,000 matching grant from the county. Applications are currently open and will be awarded in January. Sierra Business Council will administer the funding, which will focus on businesses most impacted by recent restrictions, such as restaurants, hair salons, and gyms. Selected businesses will receive up to $5,000.
“Five thousand dollars isn’t a huge amount,” said Hobbs. “We really see this as bridge funding to help them get through the next month or so.”
Town Council also approved of an amendment to the COVID-19 Response fund, increasing its budget from $75,000 to $110,000.
The additional $35,000 was brought to the Town Council in order to give the town manager more flexibility in supporting community programs, such as rental assistance and hunger relief.
Truckee adopts STR urgency ordinance
Town officials will have a new way to rein in short-term rental operations that aren’t in compliance with COVID-19 restrictions.
Following unanimous approval from Town Council, an urgency ordinance to allow the denial, suspension, or revocation of a short-term rental permit or Transient Occupancy Tax registration certificate is now in effect.
“We don’t have any intention at all of going immediately to threatening to suspend or revoke TOT certificate if somebody is renting illegally,” said Town Attorney Andrew Morris. “We really do want to achieve voluntary compliance … and so this is something that we would only use as a tool if we could not get compliance after several warnings.”
Town staff indicated that they’ve received 22 complaints regarding short-term rentals since the regional stay-at-home order went into effect.
Those operating short-term rentals will be subject to a three-strike rule, which includes increased fines before having licenses suspended or revoked.
New employees introduced
The town introduced Tiffany Hambrick as its new Public Works administrative technician in the facilities maintenance division. She replaces longtime employee Janet Ravey, who is retiring at the end of the month.
The town also introduced Jordan Salas as its police records assistant.
Keep Truckee Green Update
Keep Truckee Green provided an update to the town on its work from the summer and fall months.
At last June’s Truckee Day a record of more than 1,000 volunteers turned out to help clean up. Truckee Litter Corps, a volunteer-led litter program, had more than 200 unique volunteers this year.
During the summer and fall months, Keep Truckee Green said 2,866 tons of green waste was collected, marking a 17% increase from the previous year. The program also saw a 45% jump in the amount collected from green carts, which totaled 1,548 tons of waste picked up and resulted in saving 154,860 green bags from going to the landfill.
Keep Truckee Green Recycling Program Manager Erica Mertens also spoke on the recently launched Grab a Bag program. Locals and visitors can now pick up a trash bag from one of 11 local businesses, collect litter, and then receive a reward in the form of discounts, reusable straws, swag, treats, and more.
“The Grab a Bag program makes it so anyone can host their own impromptu clean-up at anytime, even while on a visit downtown,” said Mertens in a news release.
Participating businesses will have a poster hanging in their window or bulletin board, and at this time include Alibi Ale Works, CA 89, Cofeebar, Cornerstone Bakery, For Goodness Sake, Full Belly Deli, Little Truckee Ice Creamery, New Moon, Pacific Crest Coffee, Tahoe Mountain Sports, and Truckee Rents.
Interested businesses can email email@example.com to join.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-550-2643.
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Local coronavirus cases jumped by 107 over the holiday weekend, bringing the new total to 3,206.