City Manager Nancy Kerry recently presented the City Council with a report on South Lake Tahoe roads.
“We need $2 million every year just to maintain the condition they are in today, which is rated ‘F’ -- failing,” says Kerry.
Then, she looks at the budget for how to pay for new roads.
“Interesting, $2 million is what we spend on retiree health,” says Kerry.
Kerry says health and pension benefits have trumped infrastructure spending for decades. The projected unfunded liability is $70 million.
“So the public can see this direct correlation, we have provided benefits in a way thats unsustainable because of the healthcare system, its not the retirees fault, the system is out of control,” says Kerry.
Kerry is negotiating with six unions to eliminate the health benefit. If she succeeds, that will still leave a $50 million pension liability.
But Kerry says the state doesn’t allow her to renegotiate pensions, the legislature would have to approve that.
Tourism in North Lake Tahoe is rising dramatically even in the drought. Hotel occupancy was up 8 percent last weekend over the same period last year according to the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association.
The early closure of snowless ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe area has affected businesses and people... and not in good ways.
It would not be an odd sight in the spring. But there is something depressing about a closed ski slope in the middle of winter. The trails are bare and grassy. The chairlifts just hang there, waving a little with the breeze.
The United States Department of Agriculture says January is shaping up to be another dry month in the Lake Tahoe area and that signals an unprecedented fourth year of drought.
Temperature records are falling around Lake Tahoe and that is melting ski areas.