Declining property values at ‘the hole’ in South Lake Tahoe create $1.5 million problem


By Kathryn Reed

Deciding to disband redevelopment agencies throughout California has proved to be more cumbersome than many people anticipated and has necessitated the revision of laws and new ones created to help local governments comply with what Sacramento wants.

It has left South Lake Tahoe and El Dorado County battling over $1.5 million. It’s Nancy Kerry as a member of the successor agency and Joe Harn, the county auditor who is supposed to oversee all the financial dealings with the agency, who are going after each other.

A meeting Oct. 11 of the South Tahoe Redevelopment Successor Agency board was heated and contentious at times. This is the board created after the state said redevelopment agencies must go away.

A lower assessed value on properties at the South Tahoe hole means a loss of $1.5 million. Photo/LTN

Hal Cole represents South Lake Tahoe and he is the chairman of the board. Other members include John Knight, El Dorado County supervisor; Kindred Murillo, Lake Tahoe Community College president; Vicki Barber, superintendent El Dorado County Office of Education; Randy Vogelgesang, South Tahoe Public Utility District board member; Nancy Kerry, South Lake Tahoe employee; and Coy Baugh, public member.

The battle over the nearly $1.5 million stems from property owners of the rebar and concrete that was supposed to be a hotel-convention center near the state line asked for their parcels to be reassessed. They were. It meant about $1.5 million less in property taxes having to be paid by those property owners.

But the problem is the county already allocated those funds. They went to the Redevelopment Agency before it was dissolved.

On Oct. 1, Harn said he would deduct the $1.5 million from the 2013 property tax disbursement.

On Oct. 9, city staff on behalf of the successor agency wrote a letter objecting to Harn’s actions.

Kerry, at the Oct. 11 meeting, said she is not disputing the money is owed, but questions who gets paid first. She believes the money should be considered a debt the successor agency would deal with. Harn says that is wrong, that the money is a tax roll adjustment.

Harn said it’s his job to make the correction without regard to who is affected by the action.

Kerry wants it as a debt because then the obligation to pay it back is secondary to the bondholders.

“It’s crippling to take all of it at once. The successor agency is not questioning that the money is owed,” Cole said.

In this post-redevelopment era, is it the county treasurer-tax collector who would determine if a payment plan could be structured. If it’s not, then where the $1.5 million comes from remains unknown.

It was resolved at Thursday’s meeting that the city on behalf of the successor agency would see if the county would work on a payment plan for the $1.5 million and that a meeting with the state Department of Finance would be sought so those people can weigh-in.

However, Mindy Patterson, lead analyst with the Department of Finance, on Oct. 11 via email confirmed the $1.5 million is a roll correction – not debt, as the city would prefer it labeled.

Having $1.5 million be wiped off the books also means the agencies that benefit from this property tax won’t be getting their share. That includes South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County, STPUD, LTCC and Happy Homestead Cemetery District.

It’s likely their share of funds from what was redevelopment won’t be seen for years based on all the debt the successor agency is now saddled with.

The one bright spot for the agencies is that at the Oct. 11 meeting on a 5-2 vote, with Cole and Kerry the dissenters, it was agreed the $1.4 million that had been set aside for the Aspens housing project will be returned to the successor agency coffers. And in turn it will be distributed to the government bodies listed above.







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Comments (14)
  1. Steve Kubby says - Posted: October 13, 2012

    Hal ‘the hole’ Cole strikes again!

  2. HangsUpsFromWayBack says - Posted: October 13, 2012

    It’s bigger than anyone would ever want tell you as they turn the Table.

    30 years ago, I walked sang songs while walking down that stretch road, now it sleeps…like the rest these forgot memories of this town as the young, old locals were headed toward the rack after a hot fir-day night to get up do it again on busy Saturday night.
    The Tahoe life style can only be appreciated by those who saw its glory shared those hugs with others that enjoyed its freedom and really there was money for all,good food ,drink we all could afford.
    peace be with you old locals that walked that lonely mile, headed home to rest.

  3. DAVID DEWITT says - Posted: October 13, 2012

    Here is an idea lets build a loop road.

  4. Chief Slowroller says - Posted: October 13, 2012

    the HOLE gets Deeper

  5. barf12 says - Posted: October 13, 2012

    My two cents. Ms. Reed could use some improvement on her English writing skills.
    Also, has anyone noticed? It seems as if the property across
    the street from the hole is going to trustee/forclosure sale for a mere $60 million. That might affect our tax collections. Also, let Mike build out a “gentleman’s club”. We need it!!

  6. Steve says - Posted: October 13, 2012

    Even in government, there is no such thing as a free lunch, despite empty promises and unfulfilled fantasies. Eventually, somebody has to pick up the tab.

  7. Bob says - Posted: October 13, 2012

    So disappointing to keep reading about this hole getting deeper. I would feel better if some court action was taken against the parties who created this mess. Why are no attorneys stepping forward?

  8. Local Yokle says - Posted: October 13, 2012

    Why is it that these Government agencies all spent the money before having it in hand?

    The Hole continues to be a blight, an eye sore and a thorn. All parties need to be given notice. Give them one year to do something with it. If after one year they can not secure financing it should be bought at fair market value and sold or ‘redeveloped’ before it penny and dimes us all.

    Anyone who continues to vote for incumbent’s is crazy.

  9. Tahoeadvocate says - Posted: October 13, 2012

    Local— As I understand it, the HOLE now is owned by the people who lent Randy Lane the money to begin development. This took place earlier this year. Now you have a number of people owning different parts of the original 29 parcels with differnt desires. I don’t believe the city has any ability to force a sale. They could condemn the structure and require it to be removed but not much else.

  10. Skier says - Posted: October 13, 2012

    Another reason to dissolve the chity. We need professional leaders. Hal the Hole Cole…I Like it. BTW, ask our public safety people if they like their leadership and how is morale???

  11. Red Dog says - Posted: October 13, 2012

    Comments like the ones on this article make me realize why people just wallow in negativity. The economy collapsing is a global issue, not the city’s. My property has declined in value by almost half, gee just like this property. Every property in town declined in value. The inability of people to understand economics and wanting to blame someone or some agency for everything that’s wrong, is why we don’t get anything done. Now that the property has declined in value, maybe someone will buy it and do something with it. Look around, the entire global economy declined.

  12. Romie shoult says - Posted: October 13, 2012

    In the middle of the night, the people of SLT should dump 1 wheelbarrow of dirt into The Hole for every post on this site about The Hole. Pretty soon, we will have The People’s Park of SLT.

  13. Criticalthinker55 says - Posted: October 13, 2012

    Yo Hang Up, 30 years ago from the freak peak to rojo’s to Harveys inn and first draft and monte vista it was a happenin’ scene.

    :) ahh the memories

  14. Sunriser2 says - Posted: October 15, 2012

    Remember the city leaders who claimed redevelopment site #2 would generate 6% per year compounding incremental tax increases.

    Same people who were INTERVIWING potential buyers for the site at Ski Run? Had so many buyers didn’t know which one to chose.

    We had so much money they were going to build a new city hall.

    Now we know why two city managers, the city attorney, the finance manager left.