South Lake Tahoe ballot measures appear headed toward failure
Special to The Union
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — With 100% of precincts reporting in El Dorado County, it appears both local ballot measures have failed.
Turnout was low for both measures. Only 2,084 people cast ballots for Measure B out of 5,917 people. The measure would have raised fees that would go to Lake Valley Fire Protection District for new equipment.
The measure needed two-thirds of the vote to pass, so while it had 58% “yes” votes, it still needs a little less than 200 votes to pass.
Absentee ballots postmarked no later than Tuesday have until Friday to reach the elections office and be counted. County officials said they don’t know how many ballots might come in. Vote totals are incomplete and unofficial.
Fire Chief Tim Alameda was disappointed in the results, but was still glad people got out and voted.
“We have a very informed electorate,” Alameda said. “I would’ve liked to have more people, but I’m proud that people still did go out and vote for what they thought was right.”
With the failure of the measure, Alameda said the fire district has “significant challenges,” ahead of them.
The district operates two stations, and has two pieces of equipment and two people operating them. The average is three to four people, so they lack personnel and equipment. Although the funds for this measure would have gone to equipment only, it could’ve helped the district shift its budget.
Despite the loss, Alameda remains grateful and optimistic.
“I’m really happy with our firefighters,” Alameda said. “We’ll find a way. We always do.”
Snow removal services
Measure M, the measure that would’ve raised fees for snow removal services, also appears to have failed.
“Voters sent a clear message, in the district, county and statewide, they have no inclination to vote to raise taxes or fees even for the services they deem necessary,” said Carla Hass, communications director for El Dorado County.
This measure also had low voter turnout, only 2,105 of the 5,976 registered voters cast ballots. Nearly 54% of the voters voted “no.”
Hass pointed out that this was a trend with nearly all ballot measures in El Dorado County.
Because of this trend, Hass said district leaders will have to make some tough decisions on how to provide services residents want and need if those residents aren’t willing to pay more.
“The Department of Transportation will do the best they can with the equipment they have, but nobody can expect services to improve,” Hass said.
Laney Griffo is a staff writer with the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication to The Union.
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