My Turn: Placer must listen, not dictate
As I talk with local residents of Placer County’s Fifth district, I’ve heard a lot of concern about the problems caused by county government “running” North Lake Tahoe from Auburn.
People are particularly unhappy with the county’s redevelopment agency. They point out that several years ago, the local citizen Redevelopment Advisory Committee was disbanded. People want more input on the selection of redevelopment projects, but feel they’ve been cut out of the process.
Since the money to fund redevelopment activities at North Lake Tahoe comes from the redevelopment areas established within the Basin, the request for more local input is certainly reasonable. People also want to know why the redevelopment agency needs a staff of 18, none of whom are based at North Lake Tahoe. Are we doing redevelopment or building a bureaucracy?
Here are more of the questions I’ve heard. Why hasn’t the redevelopment agency helped the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District relocate its downtown Tahoe City fire station? The redevelopment agency is generating $42 million in tax increment funds from redevelopment areas within the fire district’s boundaries.
They’ve asked the agency to contribute $2.5 million to the cost of the relocating the main fire station.
The request sounds reasonable to me. Why hasn’t the agency been more active in removing blight in Kings Beach? Why was a $14 million parking garage proposed in downtown Tahoe City, with a lot of money spent to plan and design the structure, then the project suddenly dropped without a clear explanation.
Who is making these decisions? It’s certainly not anyone at North Lake Tahoe.
I’ve also heard complaints about the responsiveness of other county functions and services at North Lake Tahoe. I am aware of plans, paid for by the redevelopment agency, in which business owners and community residents surveyed asked for “improved government processes.” Specific requests made included the desire for a stronger voice in local government, better understanding and sensitivity by Placer County to local conditions, uniform processing and approval of building applications and permits, and a simplified permitting process for both construction and non-construction projects.
The people I’ve talked with tell us the county still has a long way to go to deliver on recommendations of the County’s own study.
I hear you loud and clear. Placer County needs to be more responsive to North Lake Tahoe and District 5. As your supervisor, I will listen to you and act accordingly. I will be your advocate with my colleagues on the Board of the Supervisors and with county staff.
Placer County must work together with the residents and businesses of District 5, not dictate what we will like and how we will like it.
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