El Dorado supervisors divvy up over $2 million in TOT revenue

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Lake Valley Fire didn’t get the rescue boat it requested, but it will be getting a quick strike truck that will chop into its emergency response time by efficiently navigating busy Tahoe roads.

The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday handed out over $2.1 million worth transient occupancy tax funds to various agencies, like the Lake Valley Fire Protection District.

A 10% TOT is collected by the county when visitors stay for 30 days or less in any lodging facility, except campsites. The TOT was established in 2004 and the revenue can be used for anything, but mainly has been put towards tourism and economic development.

The supervisors unanimously passed a motion during a special meeting on Tuesday authorizing the use of TOT funds equaling $2,153,708.

Lake Valley Fire will receive a chunk of that including up to $350,000 for a quick strike rescue truck and $222,000 for help with customer service calls that heavily impacted the district this past year.

“The fire apparatus would allow them (LVFPD) to get around the community during busy times,” said District IV Supervisor Sue Novasel during the discussion.

The district also requested $1,475,000 for rescue equipment, including a boat, $107,960 for two additional staffers on weekends and $16,720 for helicopter training but those requests were denied.

Multiple county agencies made requests for funding and overall asked for $4,539,163, but supervisors trimmed items to fit the available funds. The TOT was about $1.2 million less than anticipated due to the pandemic.

The Tahoe region of the county is responsible for about 90% of the TOT revenue.

The transportation department will receive $500,000 for a snow plow/snow removal equipment and $1.3 million for road maintenance.

The supervisors also authorized $142,500 for code enforcement, that includes an additional officer and vehicle, $85,500 for an additional development tech, $68,000 for search and rescue impacts with El Dorado Hills Fire and $5,800 for Georgetown Fire.

Supervisors dug into the designated reserve fund by about $520,000 to cover funding requests.

El Dorado County Chief Administrative Officer Don Ashton warned supervisors about digging into that fund, which is made up of prior years’ TOT in the amount of $1.85 million. He said the funds had been set aside for economic development projects and business incentives, such as broadband.

“I think we have plenty of money to talk about this,” Novasel said.

And the other four supervisors were on board.

Public comment was mostly opposed to how the supervisors allocated funds.

One commenter hoped they could give money to Tahoe Paradise Park and Clean Tahoe.

Another talked about the homeless problem that encompasses the entire county.

And another wanted more enforcement officers to enforce the regulations already in play.

The supervisors didn’t respond to public comment and passed the motion 5-0.

Other agencies also receive TOT funding before supervisors allocate what’s left.

From the board’s direction on March 9, assuming a $5 million revenue, the Lake Tahoe South Shore Chamber of Commerce gets $78,950, the Tahoe Prosperity Center gets $30,000, the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce and Film Commission get a combined $341,670, $280,700 goes to veterans, $1.3 million goes to economic development and $638,500 go to Sheriff’s Office search and rescue ($265,000) and the treasurer-tax collector ($373,500).