My Turn: Taxpayer money " Where does it go? |

My Turn: Taxpayer money " Where does it go?

The numbers that follow are my understanding from public information through reliable sources. Corrections or amplifications are welcome and encouraged.

The Placer County Redevelopment Agency gave Affordable Housing Development Co. $565,000 for work culminating in a proposed 155 units called Cedar Grove on a pristine 12-acre parcel belonging to the Mourelatos Family and currently zoned for only two units. That proposal was totally opposed by the community, and abandoned by AHDC.

The project was more recently resurrected as the Vista Village workforce housing project, with Pacific West Development, Inc. fronting for the property owners. The proposals had options ranging down to 72 units (including for sale units), which were still way over the possible community acceptance for, at most, 40 units.

The Redevelopment Agency proposes to grant Pacific West $6 million. Pacific West will further obtain unknown subsidies from various other government agencies. At 72 units, the Redevelopment Agency alone contributes $83,300 per unit, and at 40 units, $150,000 per unit. Pacific West pays the owners $4.5 million (wow!) and gets to keep the rest and the property. Some ill-defined, difficult-to-enforce restrictions are placed on the buyers or renters of the units to try to restrict the units to those deemed qualifying. Pacific West further wants an access across North Tahoe PUD property to Donner Road.

The Mourelatos Family and Pacific West are not nonprofit entities, but it sure looks like the money is all coming from taxpayers ” this to “redevelop” a pristine parcel of land, when there are 65 units in a trailer park next door that cries for Redevelopment Agency help. Why can’t the agency help fund projects that really need help instead of just putting our money into private developers’ pockets?

Perhaps the agency has too much money allocated, and needs to spend it some place … any place?

Moreover, this project will be exempt from real estate taxes. Guess who will pay for schools, fire, law enforcement and other costs? Then, what about the potential favoritism or corruption in the sale/resale/rental of these heavily subsidized units?

North Tahoe PUD projects that a new water tank, etc., will cost $1,600 per parcel. That means us taxpayers again. Other effects on the community have been discussed repeatedly by others; traffic, pollution, post office, etc.

This project needs total transparency, not the piece-by-piece exposure (through the efforts of many caring individuals) of these hidden details. What else is hidden?

Let us put this and the other 15 Tahoe Vista projects on hold until the total impact is clearly known. Only then can we decide what is needed by, and acceptable to, our community.

Ezra Meyer is a Tahoe Vista resident.

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