March 12 Letters to the Editor
An open letter to commissioners
It is the responsibility of each member of the Douglas County Commission to ensure the financial health and sustainability of the County for this and future generations.
We respectfully point out that your announced positions on the planned Tahoe South Events Center and County Redevelopment Area #2 are at odds with this responsibility. We encourage you to keep an open mind and take the facts into account when you cast your vote.
These facts include:
The “no growth” policies you espouse make Douglas County all the more reliant on revenues from Stateline to fund a significant share of the County’s annual budget.
Without the planned Tahoe South Events Center, property tax and other revenues generated for the County from Stateline will continue to decline.
Pledged revenues from RDA#2 will comprise only 19% of the total debt service to repay the bonds sold by TDVA to finance construction of the Events Center. TDVA will be solely responsible for repayment of the debt, not Douglas County nor Douglas County taxpayers.
The $5 per night TDVA lodging surcharge approved by the 2019 Nevada Legislature for the Tahoe Township is estimated to generate 43% of total debt service to repay the bonds.
The existing Transient Lodging License Tax and Transient Occupancy Tax that TDVA currently receives is estimated to generate 38% of total debt service to repay the bonds.
Over 7,000 jobs have been lost in the Stateline resort core since 2000. Many of those jobs were held by Douglas County residents. The Events Center will restore an estimated 250-400 jobs and put local employment back on the rise. We sincerely hope an increase in local employment matters to you. It should.
The Harveys summer concert series is a resounding success. The demand for performing arts, music, and cultural events is so significant we are attracting world class entertainers to perform in a parking lot. The indoor Events Center will open an entirely new set of entertainment and sports opportunities for local residents and visitors alike to enjoy.
In addition, the growing demand for mid-week and shoulder season conventions and group business will help transform Stateline’s declining gaming-based economy into a stable and sustainable recreation and event-based economy, with resulting positive benefits for all of Douglas County and the county’s budget.
As an organization of business owners and operators, we understand the importance of investment as an essential element of success and community sustainability. As elected officials responsible for the immediate and long-term financial health of Douglas County, its businesses, and its residents, you should too.
In summary, as elected commissioners responsible for the economic and social well-being of Douglas County, we respectfully urge you to reconsider your opposition in light of the substantial benefits for all county residents.
Board Chair Lyndsay Bryant
Chair-Elect Bob Anderson
Lake Tahoe South Shore Chamber of Commerce
Questions about RDA
Thank you Commissioners Nelson and Engels for representing your constituents by voting “no” on RDA2. My perception is a confluence of Commissioners Penzel, Walsh, Rice, plus former commissioner Thaler and term-limited McDermid stuck Douglas citizens with RDA2.
Doesn’t RDA2 divert over $100 million generated by tax increases within RDA2 boundaries over 30 years so that it can not be used for Douglas citizens outside RDA2, including Tahoe residents, for road maintenance, sheriffs, fire protection, EMT and other county services? Isn’t this especially important in the future because of so many developments, such as 2,500 more homes approved by Penzel, Walsh and Rice for Park, despite heavy opposition from citizens as well as Commissioners Nelson and Engels?
Haven’t developments already been approved that include 6,749 homes yet to be built? Weren’t these developments typically approved with little or no financial burden on developers for increased crime, traffic congestion, road maintenance, school enrollments, water pollution, depletion, and many more highly combustible flaming foam insulated dwellings, not subject to more fire resistive WUI building codes? Who do you think must pay for additional county resources needed to address the terribly adverse impacts of at least 6,749 more homes combined with the theft by RDA2 from Douglas citizens of over $100 million? Won’t multiple tax rates increase? Haven’t Penzel, Walsh and Rice started an end run around the citizens referendum to put RDA2 on the ballot with a $34.25 million bond that citizens will not be able to vote on?
Is there a new not widely known tax? County property tax bills may include a new “event center” ad valorem tax because of the Tahoe-Douglas Visitor’s Authority Act Chapter 496, Statutes of Nevada 1997. Doesn’t Section 27.5 include “with the consent of the governing body, to provide for the levy by the governing body of ad valorem taxes, the proceeds thereof to be used in connection with the multiuse event and convention center.”
Isn’t the “governing body” the county commission? Will the same commissioners who voted for RDA2, and opposed putting it on the ballot, be reluctant to add this event center tax to property tax bills? Of course, election selections for Commissioners are of great importance. Who are more likely to represent Douglas citizens: casino centric Commissioners who may also reward Stateline business interests: Caesar’s, George Soros, Park, Hard Rock, MontBleu, Edgewood with their votes, or those opposed to RDA2: Commissioners Nelson and Engels plus candidates: Nowosad and Gardner?