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.
The drought has caused contamination and the closure of some groundwater wells at South Lake Tahoe.
Over the weekend, the first two Sierra ski areas opened. The National Ski Area’s Association expects this to be a record year for attendance nationwide.
Among many effects of the drought, low water levels at Lake Tahoe are forcing marina owners to dredge to maintain boat access.
The US Forest Service says falling numbers of spawning fish in streams around Lake Tahoe appear to be the result of climate change.
The South Lake Tahoe City Council today approved a budget today that includes dramatic spending cuts.