Economic downturn offers a glimpse of anticipated build-out in Truckee |

Economic downturn offers a glimpse of anticipated build-out in Truckee

TRUCKEE ” At some point in the future, Truckee will be done growing.

Called build-out, every zoned lot will have a home, a business, or be permanently preserved as open space.

Construction, generally a major economic engine for the town, will slow and shrink. In some ways, it will be similar to today, as the economy has shrunk the new housing market to a small percentage of the booming sector at the beginning of the decade.

Residential construction has dropped to 10 percent of past years, with two new homes per month submitted for permits last summer, Chief Building Official Michael Lavallee said.

In addition, the sale of construction materials including lumber, concrete and plumbing supplies make up a big part of sales tax revenue, Lashbrook added.

Current estimates show sales taxes dropping by 15 percent, said Kim Szczurek, town administrative services director. Property taxes also have declined, cutting roughly $700,000 from the town’s general fund, she added.

That means belt tightening for the town, Szczurek said, where vacant positions aren’t being filled and budgets are being reduced for future fiscal years.

Assuming a healthy national economy at build-out, remodels, tear-downs, and additions would take up some of the slack, said Pat Davison, president of the Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe.

“The question is, do contractors stay put and change what they do, or do they move, looking for other opportunities?” Davison said.

“My guess is it will be a smaller workforce, but more locally based,” said John McLaughlin, Truckee’s Community Development Director.

Real estate agents also would do well at build-out.

“The vast majority of our business is home recycling,” said John Falk, lobbyist for the Tahoe Sierra Board of Realtors.

Still, the town should be looking at its options.

“We need to recognize other industry compatible with our environment and our community,” said Stefanie Olivieri, head of the Downtown Business Association and board member of the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation.

That means pushing even more for tourism and maintaining a quality of life that will attract businesses to the region, Town Manager Tony Lashbrook.

“It’s not like we are located ideally for every business or that we can offer incentives,” he said. “Businesses will only come for the same reason as everybody else ” it’s a great place to live.”

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