Calif. town raises sales tax to improve biking, hiking


TRUCKEE, Calif. — The Sierra Nevada town of Truckee has voted to raise its local sales tax by one-fourth of 1 percent beginning next spring to raise $10 million over the next 10 years to build and improve its network of biking and hiking trails north of Lake Tahoe.

Fully three-fourths of the voters backed the Measure R ballot question, according to election officials in California’s Nevada County who confirmed 100 percent of the precincts Wednesday, subject to minor changes.

It means Truckee’s sales tax will increase from 8.125 percent to 8.375 percent, effective April 1, 2015. That translates to an additional 25 cents on every $100 spent on items already subject to sales tax, ranging from restaurants to sporting goods and furniture.

Some mail-in ballots remained to be counted but the victory margin is well above the 67 percent required to raise the tax. Ballots at the polls unofficially totaled 1,367 voting yes, 456 voting no — 74.99 percent to 25.01 percent, said Sandra Sjoberg, Nevada County’s assistant clerk-recorder.

“It looks like a pretty strong lead,” she told The Associated Press.

Local bike and ski shop owner Paco Lindsay helped coordinate the campaign in support of the increase. The 40-year-resident of Truckee told the Reno Gazette-Journal the campaign raised about $40,000 and faced no organized opposition.

“I’m really, really happy for the community, that’s what this was all about,” Lindsay said.

About $8 million raised from the tax over 10 years will go toward new trail development, with the rest spent on maintenance.

The tax will expire on March 31, 2025 unless voters extend it by November 2024.

Truckee currently has about 15 miles of paved trails and 14 miles of dirt trails.

The town’s master plan currently on the drawing board envisions an expansion over the next decade to include 39 miles of dirt trails and 29 miles of paved ones, although Lindsay said the new tax increase wouldn’t provide enough money in itself to do all of that.

One of the most anticipated improvements is a proposed extension of the town’s Legacy Trail. It runs along the Truckee River near the historic downtown and residents would like to see more connections from the Legacy Trail to neighborhoods.

“Having that section down there built, all the users out there having a good time, I think it is going to be big,” Lindsay said.

 

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