SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Jason Collin completed his first city council meeting as Mayor, and despite the length of the agenda, the meeting finished in quick order.
The meeting started with a recognition of new city staff as well as employees who have been working for the city for five, 10, 15 and 20 years.
“I wish we could start all of meetings this way,” Collin said.
The positivity was short-lived, with the majority of public comment taken up by residents who oppose cell-towers.
Many felt that this community is not like other big cities that have 5g capability and the community does not need 5g. They also felt there were other ways of getting better connectivity, such as underground cables.
Others expressed concern about the health of birds, bees and other insects that might be affected by the 5g. While the Federal Communications Commission has stated 5g is not harmful to humans, it hasn’t said anything about the effect on other species.
The appeal hearing for the cell tower on Needle Peak is set for the Tuesday, Jan. 14, meeting, although City Manager Frank Rush said he’s still working with Verizon Wireless to find another location for the tower.
The council then heard a presentation from CivicSpark Fellow Meredith Anderson about the solicitation of proposals for solar installations. CivicSpark is working with Solar Energy and Economic Development Fund, a collaboration of two Bay Area energy firms.
SEED Fund is looking to expand solar in the Sierras, with City of South Lake Tahoe being the lead agency on the expansion.
CivicSpark and SEED Fund were able to pinpoint four locations where solar panels would be most effective at little to no cost for the city. They will now go out to bid for installation.
The majority of the meeting was taken up with the consent agenda. Part of that was to approve a position reclassification of the Communications Manager to Assistant to the City Manager-Public Engagement. Rush asked the item to be removed from the agenda so far now, the role will stay the same.
There was also discussion about a higher salary being offered for the new Fire Chief.
Councilmember Brooke Laine expressed concern, saying the last two potential fire chiefs turned down the position because of personal reasons, not because of the salary.
However, the council passed the resolution.
The Shared Mobility Device ordinance was brought to the council for another reading.
Director of strategic development in the northwest for Lime, Jonathan Hopkins, said he was happy with the direction the council was moving but was concerned with the fee structure that would allow the city to hire a law enforcement officer to handle shared mobility devices.
The council directed Assistant City Attorney Beverly Roxas to adjust the ordinance and come back for another reading at the next meeting.
Finally, the council approved travel for Mayor Jason Collin and Councilmember Devin Middlebrook to attend the New Mayors and Council Members Academy through the California League of Cities on Jan. 22-24 in Sacramento. Although Middlebrook was absent from the meeting, the present council thought he might like to attend. The council will confirm with Middlebrook before paying the entry fee.
There will be a special city council meeting on at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 17,to discuss hiring a new city manager as well as appointing an interim manager.