Update: County approves $171,000 to fix Tahoe fire boat

Tahoe-Douglas Fire Protection District's Marine 24 received $171,000 in federal relief funding on Thursday. The boat is in a Carson Valley shop after it sank in January 2022.

Tahoe-Douglas Fire Protection District's Marine 24 received $171,000 in federal relief funding on Thursday. The boat is in a Carson Valley shop after it sank in January 2022.

A $171,000 request to refurbish the former Marine 24 and get it back on Lake Tahoe was approved by Douglas County commissioners on Thursday.

The funding came from $9.5 million in federal relief funds that were allocated but not spent.

Commissioners voted that the remaining $720,000 would be the subject of an open call for projects.

“I’m impressed with the collaborative effort and all the money that’s been donated by multiple sources,” commissioner Sharla Hales said. “There’s a lot of momentum on this project.”

The money has to be allocated by December 2024 and spent by December 2026.

The boat partially sank after it came loose from its mooring and its aft quarter was punctured after 65 mph winds and 6-8-foot waves crashing against the dock.

The real damage, though, was to the engines which were hammered against the pier and will have to be replaced.

The boat spent 16 hours immersed, and the manufacturer assumed all the electrical equipment and wiring was corroded, and if Tahoe was salt water, that would have been the case, according to the Tahoe-Douglas Fire Protection District.

Officials believe a good cleaning would be sufficient to bring most of that equipment back online, which has been conducted with most components functional.

The boat would serve as an auxiliary to the replacement boat expected to arrive this spring that was purchased with proceeds from the insurance money.

Supporters have raised much of the funding required to repair the boat.

“Having served on the sheriff’s boat for 15 years, I can tell you how important it is to have emergency vehicles on that Lake,” Commissioner Wes Rice said. “I’m very much in favor of funding.”

The request was significantly lower than the proposed $611,000 because of a lot of fundraising that occurred around the boat.

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Nearly $900,000 in unspent federal recovery money that has gone unspent since last year could be allocated on Thursday.

Douglas County commissioners are scheduled to discuss either spending American Rescue Plan Act funds on items that have been suggested or put out a call for additional projects.

Last year commissioners approved $6.9 million, but Chief Financial Officer Terri Willoughby said that $890,385 is available for additional projects.

The biggest request is from Tahoe Douglas Fire District, which is asking for $611,000 to repair fire and rescue boat Marine 24, which partially sank in a January 2022 storm.

When it was purchased in 2018, the boat cost $450,000. Replacing it cost the district more than $600,000. When the boat foundered the insurance company deemed it a total loss and it sold at auction for $55,000. It has been sitting on blocks in dry storage at Tahoe Keys Marina for the last year. The person who won the bid is willing to give it up for $40,000 and Tahoe Douglas Rotary Club Foundation made up the difference.

Repairing the boat itself is estimated to top out at around $200,000. Building mooring to keep both the new and old boats safe would cost around $250,000.

Community Development is hoping to get $250,000 to update the transportation and master plans.

Information Technology would like $259,000 for miscellaneous equipment and hardware, including $110,000 for new server hardware and $89,000 to run fiber optic cable to Douglas County Social Services on Spruce Street. The Sheriff’s Office is asking for $40,000 for in-house training.

Total requests are running $1.16 million, should county commissioners decide to choose those projects, or they could order off the menu.

One source of the additional money would be the reallocation of $500,000 in NEPA assessment money for Muller Lane Parkway.

Another $456,936 for a grant match to pay for the Buckeye culvert crossing is also being reallocated.

There are $41.3 million in unfunded requests from last year.

Also before county commissioners are a recommendation from the Community Grant Committee to grant $155,000 to 16 community organizations.

The county received $198,381 in requests but was able to provide some funding to all the applicants.

Commissioners will also conduct the hearing for the final budget for the county, the redevelopment agency and the towns of Genoa, Gardnerville and Minden.

A half dozen new positions were approved in the tentative budget bringing the county to 629.84 full-time equivalent workers.

Commissioners approved a $61.8 million tentative budget on March 30.


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