At Lake Level, January 2021 The official newsletter of the City of South Lake Tahoe

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The City of South Lake Tahoe is pleased to publish its monthly newsletter - "At Lake Level." You can sign up for the newsletter, and other City News, by texting JOIN NEWS to 30890 or clicking here. The monthly newsletter is prepared by the City Manager's Office in an effort to keep our community well-informed about City issues and initiatives.

City Council Agendas now available in Spanish

In an effort to become more transparent and inclusive in our City, we are now offering the City Council Agenda in Spanish. Our next City Council Regular Meeting will be on Tuesday, January 5th starting at 9:00am. For the link to the full agenda and meeting go here.

City working with public entities to implement sustainable energy

In April 2017, the City of South Lake Tahoe City Council adopted a resolution to Establish Renewable Energy and Carbon Emissions Reduction Goals for South Lake Tahoe. Consistent with the initiative, the City Council adopted the City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) on October 20, 2020. A key strategy of the CAP is improving energy efficiency in existing buildings through weatherization, deep energy retrofits, and building electrification.

To initiate this strategy, the City issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) on behalf of itself and on behalf of associated public agencies in the Sierras region (collectively, the Participants) for the purpose of implementing sustainable energy updates in municipal facilities. The Participants worked with the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Fund in the development of the RFP. The mission of the SEED Fund is to pursue regional sustainability projects, such as distributed renewable energy installations and energy efficiency improvements that create new economic activity while improving the regional environment. The primary focus of the SEED Fund program is on aggregating renewable energy and energy efficiency projects for municipalities, schools, and other public agencies to help reduce total energy costs while creating measurable environmental benefits.

This SEED Fund Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Project represents a coalition of public entities in El Dorado, Nevada, and Alpine Counties that formed to pursue strategies for cost-effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions from municipal operations. The Participants understand that PV installations can lower facility reliance on utility-generated electricity and reduce the carbon footprint of their operations, while providing environmental leadership for the community.

CORE Construction has been tentatively selected as the most qualified provider of solar installations to support the participants in identifying and developing desirable, cost-effective renewable energy projects at municipal facilities.

Vacation home rental (vhr) Hotline

As of December 4, 2020, the VHR “hotline” phone number is ringing directly into our local Joint Dispatch Center located at the Police Department (This number used to be answered by an automated call center service). We hope this change makes the process of reporting VHR Ordinance violations much easier and user friendly for the public. VHR ordinance enforcement will continue to be a top priority for our Community Service Officers. VHR “Hotline” Call Center – 530.542.7474

Do Your Part and Recreate Smart!

South Lake Tahoe is America’s All Year Playground and there is no better time to get outside to enjoy some snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding or skiing in a safe and responsible manner. For many of us, the reason we live here is because access to the outdoor playground is nearly right out our back door!

In recent years, a growing number of recreation enthusiasts have been discovering the backcountry. The closure of many indoor recreation facilities due to the pandemic has led to unprecedented numbers of people venturing outdoors. While exploring the outdoors offers many health benefits for the user, poor preparation and bad decision making can result in negative consequences (physical and financial). In addition to dressing appropriately for the conditions and ensuring your equipment is in proper working order, experiencing the outdoors during a global pandemic requires new protocols to ensure a safe and memorable experience for you and others.

On behalf of the City and all recreation land managers in the Tahoe Basin, please consider the following before your next winter outing:

  • Practice social distancing – Stay at least 6 feet from others at all times
  • Wear a face covering – At trailheads, summits, or any gathering points
  • Stay local – Access trailheads closest to your home
  • Observe closures and backcountry access rules. To see backcountry rules go here.
  • Go small – Stay within your ability level to avoid additional burdens on the medical system and unnecessary risks to first responders
  • Check the trailhead parking status before you go. Crowded trailheads make social distancing difficult, go elsewhere if parking is full or return at a less busy day/time. Please note: Parking in undesignated parking areas may result in fines up to $1,000 in some jurisdictions. For Trailhead parking update, go here.
  • Restrooms at trailheads may not be open in winter so plan ahead
  • Pack it in and pack it out – Overfull trash bins attract animals and harm the environment
  • Be a responsible pet owner – Obey leash laws and pick up after your pet
  • Always check snow stability conditions. Go here for details.
  • Always tell someone where you are going and when you will be back

If you are new to the backcountry please consider taking an online class from a recognized backcountry safety education provider. Visit the links above or www.ltcc.edu to learn more. It is more important now than ever for everyone to do their part and recreate smart!

City Projects funded by mEASURE s

On November 3rd, 2020 the South Lake Tahoe voters approved Measure S, a one-cent transactions and use (sales) tax. The tax goes into effect on April 1, 2021 and is projected to generate between $5.4 and $5.9 million per year in revenue which will be recorded in a separate General Fund (102) for transparency. The City will begin receiving those funds in June 2021.

The first on the list of projects to be funded from this new tax is a $4.6 million project approved by City Council on December 15, 2020 for the lease/purchase of the emergency communications system for Fire, Police and Public Works. Measure S funds will pay for the entire project. Between June 2021 and September 2022, and annually thereafter, Measure S will additionally provide funding for road reconstruction ($2 million), Fire Station 2 staffing (approximately $1.2 million) with the remaining funds to be utilized for other prioritized capital and equipment needs.

The Finance department will begin providing detailed reporting on revenues and expenditures associated with this new tax revenue after the first full quarter receipts, received in 2021.

Fire Truck 2 provides great benefits to our community

With 2020 coming to an end, South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue has continued to strive forward; and with the support of the community we plan to finish the year on a positive note. The City was able to place the new ladder truck in service at Fire Station 2 after years of working on the project. And with the passage of Measure S, the desperately needed communications system updates will be initiated.

New “Truck 2” will be a great benefit to the community. In the first week of it being placed in service it responded to a house fire and an apartment complex fire, demonstrating its advantages. With the Truck’s placement at Station 2, near the Al Tahoe neighborhood, its central location provides a quick response to any emergency within the City. Ladder trucks compared to a fire engine, provide much more specialized equipment for rescue purposes as well as a 107-foot ladder that can be quickly raised to any structure’s roof in South Lake Tahoe.

In addition to placing Truck 2 in service, the City is moving forward with a communications project that will significantly improve police and firefighter capabilities and safety. In 2017, the City identified a number of deficiencies in the existing communications system that is utilized by our police, firefighters and public works staff. With the primary area of concern being coverage, first responders struggle at times to communicate with each other and the dispatchers they rely on for essential coordination. The communications project has an estimated 18-month development process, and once in place, a higher level of efficiency will translate into better service to the public and safer working conditions for first responders.

And with the close of the year, our firefighters have had an opportunity to see the positive attitudes of our citizens and the hope they have for the future despite the challenges of 2020.

It has been a longstanding tradition for South Lake Tahoe firefighters to decorate one of the fire engines with Christmas lights and drive through the City in the month of December, playing holiday music. Not giving in to the somber pandemic year, the firefighters didn’t break with tradition. And in this tradition, the firefighters who drive the Christmas fire engine through the City in the evenings have seen the joy and smiles of our citizens who come out of their homes into the snowy streets to wave and take videos with their phones. With these smiling faces and the gratitude they pay the firefighters for bringing the Christmas fire engine to their neighborhood, we are equally grateful to all our citizens for coming out of the homes they’ve been quarantining in for what’s felt like an eternity, to show us that they too have hope and will end this year with a smile.


2020 has been a challenge for all of us. As we change our “usual” holiday plans to stay safe and slow the spread of COVID, please also remember to be safe and do not put yourself or others at risk of serious injury or death by driving impaired. Driving under the influence is never ok. Don’t risk it. Call a friend, taxi, Uber, Lyft, bus, but don’t drive. Stay safe.

12 Days of Kindness FROM THE south lake tahoe Police Department

The South Lake Tahoe Police Department was honored to complete the “12 Days of Kindness” December 2nd through December 13th. This effort was done to support our local businesses while at the same time recognizing the great work being done by people in our community. Lt. Travis Cabral had the idea for this event and worked hard all 12 days to make it happen. Per Chief Stevenson, "I’m so thankful to him, our great employees, associations, local businesses, and individual community members who selflessly donated money and gifts to this great cause!"

Big thanks to police department from Chief Stevenson

As we work through the last few weeks of 2020 I would like to thank the entire Police Department team for their hard work, dedication, and service to this community.

Council approves $100,000 for restaurants to purchase to-go containers

On December 15, 2020, the City Council approved $100,000 for restaurants to purchase to-go containers and other items necessary for take-out and delivery services. Right now, restaurants are only open for take-out and delivery due to the state's Stay-At-Home order. Council also made clear the to-go containers must be compliant with city ordinances meaning no polystyrene and no plastic bags.

“Most of our businesses are using compostable to-go containers and utensils, but we know these things are going to be essential for them to survive the pandemic,” said Mayor Tamara Wallace, “We can be environmentally conscious and help our businesses keep moving forward."


  • WHAT’S REIMBURSABLE: Compostable or reusable to-go containers/boxes, utensils, reusable plastic bags, and paper bags. Click here for more eco-friendly disposables.
  • WHAT’S NOT REIMBURSABLE- Any polystyrene (styrofoam) or non-reusable plastic bags or utensils.
  • WHAT DO WE NEED FROM RESTAURANTS- Itemized receipt and pictures (sent as an attachment not embedded in the email) proving that your purchases are within the program guidelines. Also, a signed acknowledgement of CDPH and City guidelines and ordinances. Send these items to recovery@cityofslt.us

ACTION- After a review of submitted documentation, the City will reimburse the restaurant for 1/2 of their purchase up to $5,000.

Small Business COVID-19 RELIEF Grant Program

The California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant opened December 30th. A total of $475 million is available in two rounds. Round one will distribute $237 million and the application process will close on January 8 at 11:59 pm. Round two dates will be determined after round one closes. For more information on the program outline, go here.

In addition, the Sierra Business Council’s Small Business Development Center is working to provide information and technical assistance to applicants. Upcoming SBDC webinars will provide updates to the program, including eligibility requirements, the application process, required documents, and who to contact for assistance will be conducted. Registration information for these webinars is available here.


For a glance at significant projects under review by the Planning Division or initiated by the City, visit the new “Current Projects” webpage. If you want to see what the Planning Division is working on in your area, there is a map (see above) showing locations of specific project. A summary and City contact person for each project at the "Current Projects" webpage.

Holiday Closures for City of South Lake Tahoe

Until further notice, non-essential City offices will be closed. City employees working in non-essential offices will be available either by e-mail or telephone to the public. Please go to the following link for further details on specific departments.

City offices will be officially closed on Friday, January 1st in observance of New Year's Day and Monday, January 18th in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Wishing you a happy New Year from the City of South Lake Tahoe


Created with images by Josh Clemence - "Island on a mountain lake" • Nathan Dumlao - "untitled image" • skeeze - "lake tahoe dusk landscape" • Ethan Dow - "untitled image" - "lake tahoe california water"