Myths and facts about RDA funding Event Center
There’s a lot of misinformation about the South Tahoe Event Center and RDA No. 2. The facts have not been as front and center. The following are provided to help you understand the benefits the Event Center will provide to Douglas County residents.
Myth: Douglas County taxpayers will be on the hook for the Event Center debt.
Fact: No, Douglas County taxpayers will not be liable for any Event Center debt. TDVA will issue debt and will assume all liability. The Redevelopment Agency will be asked to enter into a current and future tax increment pledge agreement for up to $34.25 million through 2045. In the unlikely event that TDVA were to default on the bond, neither RDA No. 2 nor taxpayers would be liable.
Myth: The Event Center doesn’t need Douglas County funding; there’s more than enough with the tourism surcharge.
Fact: The Event Center funding is a complicated puzzle that only works if all the pieces are in place. There are multiple sources of funding for the project, including the $10 million private-sector land donation, the $5 tourism surcharge fee, Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), the lodging and license fee, and RDA No. 2. Without RDA No. 2, the other sources wouldn’t be sufficient.
It’s important to note that three of the five sources of funding – tourism surcharge, TOT, and the lodging and license fee – are generated by visitors, not by Douglas County residents.
Myth: The Event Center won’t provide any financial benefits to Douglas County and the community.
Fact: Studies commissioned by TDVA confirm several benefits of the project. Once the Event Center is operational, revenue increases are expected to outweigh the cost of the project by at least 25 times through 2045.
Douglas County will also benefit financially with increases of at least $1 million per year annually in local revenue that can be used for county-wide services such as parks, the senior center, and libraries.
Myth: RDA No. 2 is stealing $113 million of taxpayer money that can be used toward critical Douglas County services like roads.
Fact: If RDA No. 2 was dissolved, the total estimated property tax that would have been generated over 30 years would not go to the County as a lump sum to spend as it wished. The total estimated property tax would be paid by the same distribution formula that currently exists. The County’s General Fund would receive less than $33 million over 30 years.
Myth: The Event Center will never get used.
Fact: Sales executives for numerous properties throughout South Shore confirm that they have lost business over the years because there wasn’t a large enough venue at Lake Tahoe.
Similarly, many properties are unable to accommodate large acts during the non-summer months. Having a 6,000 seat Event Center would allow large acts to play all year-round.
The flexibility of the Event Center space will also make it an attractive location for other types of events, including sport tournaments
Myth: RDA No. 2 subsidizes the gambling industry.
Fact: The purpose of RDA No. 2 is to revitalize the Douglas County economy. As indicated in the 2015 Feasibility Study, the economic vitality of the South Shore (and thus, Douglas County) depends on expanding non-gaming facilities and attractions for the South Shore. As Las Vegas has shown, entertainment is core to increasing non-gaming revenue.
Myth: Convention Centers are failing all around the country.
Fact: The Event Center is not a convention center. A convention center is for business events like trade shows, conventions, or expos. An event center is for specific types of events. The South Shore Event Center is a flexible space that will accommodate a variety of local and visitor-driven events, including live musical performances, team sports tournaments, shows like Disney on ice, and conferences.
Carol Chaplin is president & CEO of the Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority