The Clean Tahoe Program began in 1988, when a local citizens committee, concerned with the South Shore’s growing litter problems, requested the City initiate a Clean Community Program, under the auspices of the City Manager’s office. By 1989, funding was comprised of a yearly surcharge on City residents’ trash bills and a yearly charge per improved parcel on County property tax bills. A part-time Coordinator was hired, responsible for community education, abatement and community cleanup. A California Department of Conservation grant provided funding for the purchase of a truck and the hiring of a Response Team Driver, responsible for removing litter throughout the City and County. The program worked in conjunction with both City and County staff in achieving its goal of preserving the visual beauty of the Lake Tahoe environment. In May 1992, the City of South Lake Tahoe and El Dorado County entered into a Joint Powers Agreement and a City/County Joint Board of Commissioners was appointed to oversee the program. In 1994, the Clean Tahoe Program became a public benefit non-profit corporation, with its own By-Laws and Program Policies.
Today, the Clean Tahoe Program has a seven member Board of Directors, with representatives from both the City and County, the Board of Realtors, the Chamber of Commerce, and a Member-at-Large, to give direction to the Program’s goals and commitments. The Program has a full-time staff of two Field workers, a Program Manager and a part-time
Program Assistant. Its two Field Assistant drivers follow their regularly-scheduled routes to remove litter from roadways and neighborhoods in both the City and County. They maintain public rightsof- way and trash receptacles in the Redevelopment area as well as roadways throughout the County; in all, more than 350 lineal miles of public thoroughfares.
In addition, they respond to citizen or business complaints, and work in conjunction with City and County agencies to remove visible litter and illegally-dumped articles from lots and roadside easements. Residents, businesses and second homeowners are reminded of local ordinances through 10-day notices which are posted at the sites of reported problems. Habitual problems are reported to the appropriate City or County agencies for code enforcement.
Each year, the Clean Tahoe Program, along with South Tahoe Refuse, sponsors a Community Cleanup Day, where residents can transport and dump residential refuse and bulk items at the Transfer Station for a greatly reduced fee. It also coordinates the California Coastal Commission’s Coastal Cleanup Day at the Lake each September.
The Program provides ongoing citizen education regarding causes of and solutions for litter problems. Two public demonstration projects— the animal-proof enclosure trailer and the designer dumpster—have helped further our mission of improving Tahoe’s visual environment. The Clean Tahoe Program encourages citizens and businesses to volunteer to assist us with our various community education and public cleanup projects throughout the year and to take responsibility for helping to improve the visual environment of their own neighborhoods by working together in organized cleanups in their individual areas.