The South Lake Tahoe City Council held a special today. It rushed a budget approval vote to meet fiscal year deadlines. The new plan the result of six budget hearings. It includes significant spending cuts and represents a new financial management strategy for the city.
The $32 million budget is balanced. It’s $600,000 higher than last year, mainly because of development services income and hotel occupancy that is higher than ever before.
The development services budget is up 25 percent. But the rest of this budget is different than from the past. It includes cuts of 3-to-7 percent in nearly every city department. City Manager Nancy Kerry says those percentages were in excess of department needs.
“We are not putting those in the budget. And this provides an opportunity for the public to see where money goes.”
The Fire Department training and equipment budget is cut. Spending on fire personnel is cut by 10 percent. The biggest cuts are to debt service payments, which are reduced as much as 87 percent because of restructuring and refinancing. Kerry says a new budget will be back in front of the council next week with pension and benefit cuts that will reduce city’s debt from $25 million dollars to $15 million.