Incorporate Olympic Valley calls it quits

“After three years and more than half a million dollars, Incorporate Olympic Valley has thrown in the towel with its efforts to form the Town of Olympic Valley,” as Moonshine Ink is reporting. “The straw that finally broke IOV’s back came in November when the majority of Placer County Local Agency Formation Commission members indicated they would vote against incorporation. Citing opposition from both the county and LAFCO, IOV formally withdrew its petition for incorporation on Dec. 1.

“’With regret we hereby withdraw that petition,’ wrote IOV in its Dec. 1 letter to LAFCO. ‘We firmly believe the Town was fiscally viable and would have benefited not only our community but neighboring communities as well. However, it is clear that the hostility to our proposal from the county and others made it hard for your commissioners to support our proposal.’

“The LAFCO commissioners’ decision at its Nov. 18 meeting to move toward denial of incorporation came despite a LAFCO staff report recommending the agency proceed with a final fiscal analysis and an environmental impact report, to be paid for by IOV. The staff report was issued after the California State Controller’s Office reviewed —at IOV’s request — 31 issues in the draft comprehensive fiscal analysis. The State Controller’s review, which was interpreted as favorable by IOV but as confirmation that a town would not be financially viable by LAFCO and Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, was the means of last resort for IOV.

“’After the LAFCO meeting, we realized there was nothing we could do technically to make a difference,’ said Bob Barnett, a retired attorney and consultant for IOV. ‘This is a political process. We won it on technical grounds, but lost it on political grounds.’

“Politically, IOV faced some powerful forces that opposed incorporation. Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, which was the sole contributor to Save Olympic Valley — the group of residents, second homeowners, and businesses formed to fight against incorporation — outspent IOV. According to campaign finance disclosure documents, over the past two years, SVSH, through Save Olympic Valley, spent almost $800,000 on political efforts to defeat incorporation. In contrast, IOV spent approximately $75,000 on political expenses but around $500,000 on consultants, the fiscal analysis, and LAFCO costs, and faced another $160,000 in expenses for the environmental impact report.

“Andy With, president and CEO of SVSH, said that spending almost $1 million was a necessary expenditure.

“’That was an unfortunate expense we had to put in place because incorporation was a strategic threat to the community and our company,” he said, noting that he was relieved when he heard that IOV was giving up its efforts. ‘What was being proposed was not in anyone’s interest.'”

The rest of the article is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

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