Ballot question to raise taxes gets backing from county
In its three-month existence, the Committee to Support Parks, Airports, Libraries and Seniors (PALS) has attracted $5,000 in donations to fund its campaign to encourage Douglas voters to approve the Douglas County Advisory Question 1.
And as of Thursday’s meeting of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners, it has also garnered the formal support of the county.
As well as endorsing the question, county officials voted to spend about $2,500 to send information packets regarding the question to voters.
The question, which will be on the primary ballot Sept. 1, asks voters to direct the county to request the state Legislature to raise the Douglas’ sales tax by a quarter of one percent.
The advisory question specifies that the additional sales tax revenue raised would go to supplement the budgets of the county’s senior services, libraries, airport operations and parks and recreation programs – areas that will suffer severe budget cuts when the Tahoe Douglas Visitor’s Authority Act (Nevada Assembly Bill 616) goes into effect next year.
AB616 redistributed 65 percent of the county’s Room Tax revenues generated at Lake Tahoe. The money, which previously went to support the county services, was re-allocated to fund promotional activities designed to bolster flagging tourism at the Lake.
At least one person attending the meeting was not pleased with the commissioners’ action.
Carson Valley rancher Nate Leising said he was disappointed with what he had heard.
“I have to buy expensive taxable equipment for my operation,” Leising said. “They’re pushing me to go to Reno, where prices are lower, or to Lyon (County), where the sales tax would be lower. And worse, I’m feeling pushed into selling my land.”
And if the advisory question doesn’t pass?
“Then our stand is weaker with the Legislature,” said county commission Chairman Jacques Etchegoyhen. “It’s a concern (because), any tax adds to the burden.”
The PALS campaign is gathering steam, committee chairman Dave Bolick said.
“We have a work day scheduled for Aug. 16, at Lampe Park,” Bolick said. “At 11 a.m. volunteers will meet at the park and pick up assignments, then they’ll go out knocking on doors and passing out information.”
Bolick, who is executive director of the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Authority, said the volunteers will meet back at the park at 3 p.m. for a free barbecue.
“Ray Tomalas is doing the barbecue, and donations will be accepted to help pay for the food,” Bolick said.
He said the political action committee has gotten a “long grocery list” of endorsements.
“Most of our donations have come from Lake Tahoe, but next week when our postcards are printed, we’re sending out a mailing to 16,500 Valley residents,” he said. “We’re still looking for endorsements, funds and volunteers.”
Bolick said the group has T-shirts for sale for $10 (large and extra-large sizes only) and 200 yard signs to place.
Bolick is joined by fellow committee officers, Sandy Cable of the Business Council of Douglas County and Steve Teshara of the Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority.
Bolick said donations from the Tahoe Douglas Library League, Friends of the Library and the county employees association go directly to fund the campaign.
PALS is made up of one representative each from the Douglas County Parks and Recreation Commission, the Airport Advisory Committee, the Senior Services Advisory Council, the Library Board, the Douglas County Building Industry Association, Carson Valley Skaters, AYSO (youth soccer), the Tahoe Douglas Chamber of Commerce, the Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority, the Business Council of Douglas County and the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Authority.
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