TRUCKEE, Calif.—The argument about whether to create a municipality at the base of the Squaw ski area is now at the stage of dueling experts. Some experts are testifying that incorporation will cost a lot of money, and those paid experts on the other side disagree.
The debate was triggered by the announcement by KSL Capital Partners, owners of the ski area, of plans to sink $50 million in upgrades and greatly expand the bed base. Currently, because there is no town government in place, officials from Placer County would review the development plans. If a town is created, elected and appointed officials would ultimately decide on development.
Citing public records, The Sacramento Bee reports that in a 12-month period ending in April, a political action committee backed by the ski area owners spent about $570,000 in an effort to derail the incorporation bid. Those supporting incorporation have spent $70,000 in the last two years.
A consultant hired by KSL Partners finds that municipal expenses in just the first year of operations would exceed revenues by $1.7 million. But incorporation supporters reject that report as “flawed by incorrect assumptions, mathematical errors and internal inconsistencies.”
The Bee says that if Olympic Valley, as the base area of Squaw is called, is incorporated, it would have fewer than 1,000 residents, making it California’s 14th-smallest town.