Updated: Jan 21

Squaw Alpine Transit Company Board of Directors Annual Meeting Minutes

September 30, 2020

Given the Governor’s order regarding Brown Act revisions due to Covid-19,

this meeting was conducted electronically.

1. Call to Order

Chair Keith Fountain called today’s meeting to order at 9:04 AM. A quorum was established.

Roll Call and Establishment of Quorum

Board members in attendance

Keith Fountain

Bob Tetrault

David Stepner

Drew Conly

Evan Benjaminson

Kyle Crezee

Mike Martin

Board members not in attendance

Peter Grant

Others attending

Joy Doyle

Travis Gleason, Downtowner

Erin Casey

Judy Friedman

2. Changes to Agenda / Adopt Agenda

Fountain asked to add Repayment Agreement on Funds Advanced by SVSH as Item 8b and Board Comments as part of Public Comment (Item 4).

It was moved by Stepner and seconded by Benjaminson to approve today’s agenda as amended. Motion carried unanimously.

3. Approve August 12, 2020 Meeting Minutes

It was moved by Benjaminson and seconded by Stepner to approve the minutes of the August 12, 2020 meeting as presented. Motion carried unanimously.

4. Public Comment

Friedman announced her contract with Placer County as Temporary Assistant Field Aide to Supervisor Gustafson has been extended to December 31, 2020.


There were no comments on items not on today’s agenda.

5. FY2020-21 Board Members Elected/Appointed - Welcome Mike Martin

It was moved by Fountain and seconded by Tetrault to appoint Peter Grant, Drew Conly, and David Stepner to a new two-year term on the Board of Directors starting October 1, 2020. Motion carried unanimously.

Mike Martin is Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows designee to fill the Board seat vacated by Casey Blann. Martin introduced himself to the group. Fountain suggested Martin chair the Operations Committee.

It was moved by Fountain and seconded by Benjaminson to accept the appointment of Mike Martin as the SV/AM designee replacing Casey Blann. Motion carried unanimously.

6. FY2020-21 Board Officers Election

It was moved by Fountain and seconded by Crezee to appoint the following as FY2020/21 Board officers:

Keith Fountain as Chair; Drew Conly as Vice-Chair; Evan Benjaminson as Treasurer; and David Stepner as Secretary. Motion carried unanimously.

7. FY2020-21 Conflict of Interest Policy & Statement Execution

Doyle emailed the Conflict of Interest Policy and Statements to Board members prior to the meeting, and thanked all Board members for complying with the requirement to sign the statement.

8. FY2020-21 Budget Approved

Benjaminson presented the financial reports, noting challenges with assessment collections and payments. Expenses are on similar to FY2019-20. There are a lot of unknowns related to assessments due to COVID-19 going into the new fiscal year.

The draft FY2020-21 budget was included in the meeting packet and shared at the last meeting. Benjaminson described the budget as conservative including the assumptions made as it was being compiled and how he calculated revenues for the next fiscal year, as well as the reduced expenses based on Downtowner agreement. Fountain reported the agreement with Downtowner has been executed and agreements for the Resort at Squaw Creek and OVI participation are being finalized. The budget does not include Resort at Squaw Creek or OVI.,

It was moved by Fountain and seconded by Benjaminson to approve the FY 2020-21 budget as presented. Motion carried unanimously.

8b. AGENDA ADDITION: Repayment Agreement on Funds Advanced by SVSH

It was moved by Stepner and seconded by Conly to approve the renewal of the Repayment Agreement between SVSH and SATCO and direct Fountain to work with Ron Cohen to execute it. Motion carried unanimously.

9. Vision Statement Discussion & Recommendation for Adoption at October 29 meeting

Fountain noted the importance of getting all Board members’ input on how the organization should move forward. He reviewed the Mission Statement and noted the organization’s many accomplishments identified in the Statement, including improving traffic flows and addressing parking and safety issues. The Vision Statement is meant to be in place until the horizon of the TBID; September 30, 2023. This is year three of the five-year District. When the TBID renews, it may be possible to renew for ten years.

Doyle presented the results of the Board’s votes on the future priorities and opportunities for the organization, an exercise conducted after the August 12 meeting. Expanding service into Alpine Meadows was rated as the highest priority. A close second Was integration with other services, and year-round service was the third priority.

Doyle summarized the Vision Statement development process to date and presented three possible Vision Statements for consideration and asked each Board member to share their favorite and why.

1. To continue as a leader and innovator of free on-demand micro transit in Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows while reducing personal vehicle use in the resort.

2. To establish Mountaineer as the micro transit standard of performance in an integrated North Lake Tahoe transit environment, while dramatically reducing personal vehicle use in the region.

3. To provide the most exceptional on-demand micro transit service offered in any North American tourist destination, exceeding riders’ expectations, and improving the competitiveness of the North Lake Tahoe resort community.

Tetrault favored #2. It allows for expansion into the North Lake Tahoe area, which could help alleviate winter traffic issues. #3 is too far a reach.

Stepner agreed #3 is too far a reach. The issue with #2 is the wording, “North Lake Tahoe transit environment.” The area’s transit vision was built around TART and micro-transit provides feeder service. He does not see Mountaineer becoming the “standard of performance,” because so far it does not work with TART. For those reasons, he favors #1 particularly because of the two-year horizon. The main challenge coming up will be convincing the businesses that provide the 1% to continue funding the service and for them to see continued advantage to running a service in and around Squaw and Alpine. What is missing is that the residents, who use the service the most, are not paying for it. The condominium associations need to see more benefit than reduced traffic. The corollary would be providing evening service to Tahoe City and Truckee. There needs to be more benefit to those actually funding the service.

Conly supported #2. He reads “standard of performance” as relates to micro-transit, not transit service overall. Micro-transit is a capillary of the Resort Triangle Transportation Plan and TART services the arteries. He is reluctant to expand beyond the valleys because of some regional failures of expansion, such as in South Lake Tahoe. The Resort at Squaw Creek provided service to Tahoe City this summer and had almost no riders during the three-weeks it operated. That may have been COVID related, but Conly suggested the system between the two valleys be robust before expanding beyond Squaw and Alpine.

Benjaminson prefers #2. When he and Fountain were first talking about micro-transit service, they were focused on how to help local traffic for Squaw Valley Lodge guests and owners and then consider spring boarding into the region. COVID has delayed that growth, but Benjaminson still believes the system can grow. Whether it is SATCo or another system going into Tahoe City, his customers want to get to Alpine and around the region more easily. The Base-to-Base Gondola will solve a piece of the issue and maybe SATCo can then use its resources to move people around regionally.

Crezee felt #1 speaks to the core of what SATCo does, but integrating that into the North Lake Tahoe transit environment is the next step. He gave half a vote to #1 and half a vote to #2.

Martin supports #2, particularly the first part of setting the micro-transit standard of performance. He would put a comma after that, since there are not a lot of micro-transit options so SATCo is already setting the standard. Integrating into the North Lake Tahoe environment offers a strategic opportunity and ties into reducing personal vehicle use. That is the goal of a lot of entities, as well as driving financial success as it would allow people to come to the area and have a service available so they would not need a car. It feeds into other transit systems and creates a differentiator for people to select lodging in Squaw or Alpine. #2 represents the here and now and something to work towards.

Fountain and Doyle got input from Cohen and Grant. Fountain reported Grant has a 30,000’ view and was focused on getting the TBID approved. He nets it out as continue doing what SATCo is doing well and show value and financial benefit to assessed businesses. The condominium owners need to feel it is a benefit.

Cohen reinforced his commitment to the transit operations within the valleys, not just by providing funding, but considering all the benefits discussed. Cohen did not support #3 because people are already coming, but visitors do need to be offered a satisfactory experience and transit is part of that. Cohen was supportive of offering service to Tahoe City and Truckee.

Fountain said Grant probably supports #1 and Cohen supports #2. Doyle interpreted the conversations as both supporting #1.

Fountain said he had supported #3, but has changed his vote to #2. He does not want to get out of the league of what SATCo does, but does favor expanding service into Tahoe City and Truckee, perhaps through partnerships with the County and other providers.

Doyle tallied the preferences; #1 preferred by 3.5 and #2 preferred by 5.5 board members. Casey had to leave the meeting early, but felt #1 and #2 should be combined. Listening to this discussion, Doyle also suggests combining #1 and #2. Gleason and others agreed.

Doyle and Fountain will combine #1 and #2 Vision Statements including comments from today, and present a final for Board consideration at the next meeting.

10. Adjourn

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting adjourned at 10:03 AM. The next SATCo meeting is scheduled for October 29, 2020.

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