How about fixing some real blight
The lead article in the April 23 edition of The Record-Courier captioned “TOT hike to fund entertainment venue,” states our board of commissioners voted to increase the Transient Occupancy Tax at the Lake from 2 percent to 3 percent. This tax increase, however, will go to fund only vaguely described “feasibility studies” regarding the venue project; meanwhile, the cost of this 120,000-square-foot “all-weather entertainment venue” in and of itself will likely be tens of millions of dollars. Where will the additional money come from, you might ask? From the newly created Redevelopment District which enables the Lake (chiefly the casino corridor area) to siphon off increased property tax revenues for pet projects.
How can this be, you might ask? Well, county commissioners have declared the casino corridor area to be “blighted.” Google the definition of that word and see if you agree.
So where could all the county property tax money that is going to be taken captive for the “entertainment venue” folly be spent otherwise? One possibility would be to repair the secondary county roads the county has responsibility for, but which it has abandoned, whining that it has no money. Similarly the money could be used on other urgent infrastructure problems, or to fund better schools, better equipment for our first responders, or even (perish the thought) pay down county debt. So, here’s the county’s logic: enough money to siphon off millions to provide a “gift” to the casinos, but no money for vital county needs!
Our progressive neighbors in California have done away with Redevelopment Districts on the basis that they rob the general fund to pay for projects that will not benefit the general population. Ask yourself: If an “all-weather entertainment venue” is such a sure-fired way to bring more tourist dollars to the casino corridor, why aren’t the casinos building it themselves?
Obviously our trusty commissioners think Douglas County special interests are more deserving, as shown when Commissioner Thaler says, “To my fellow colleagues … I ask the proverbial (sic) question I asked at the beginning — why wouldn’t we vote for this?” Spoken like a true progressive. Sadly commissioners paid no attention to Commissioner Nelson who did consider the overwhelming reasons not to implement this giveaway and, once again, voted in the people’s interests.
Equally unfortunate was Commissioner Walsh’s vote not only for the new tax (apparently forgetting his campaign pledge to vote for no new taxes without the people’s consent), but also in doing the opposite of what he implicitly promised to correct in his printed campaign materials when he complained “… our County officials … have failed to set aside the financial reserves to maintain and replace roads and utility infrastructures. In so doing, they have created serious financial obligations for future generations.” Where is all that consideration for future generations now?
Commissioner Thaler’s question has a convincing answer. Too bad most Commissioners still aren’t listening, or to quote the aphorism: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Thomas C. Starrett is a Gardnerville resident