Visitors Authority to present plan for spending city money
October 19, 2008
The Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority will return to the City Council on Tuesday with a plan for spending $335,000 of city funds the council tentatively approved at its last meeting for tourism marketing.
The South Tahoe Chamber of Commerce also will make another pitch to the council for $65,000 to support the chamber’s activities, including special events in the “Y” area.
At the council’s Oct. 7 meeting, Mayor Mike Weber had asked LTVA Executive Director Carol Chaplin to return with details of how the organization would spend the money, saying he was particularly interested in special events.
The LTVA’s proposal includes $50,000 for a Labor Day event with fireworks; $10,000 for a wine and art event; $42,000 that would be awarded through a grant process with an eye toward events that would “drive occupancy during soft periods”; and other items.
To cover the marketing expense, the city manager has proposed using $240,000 of reserve funds, plus funds that had been earmarked for certain projects: $37,500 for E Street redevelopment; $50,000 for design and landscape basins; $8,000 for bike trail overlay; and $14,500 for road repairs.
The total of those funds – $350,000 – also includes $15,000 that the council approved during its last meeting for the Tahoe Area Coordinating Council for the Disabled.
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At the council’s Oct. 7 meeting, a long line of people told council members of the importance of marketing the tourism-dependent community, especially during slow economic times. The issue is even more critical with the opening of the Red Hawk Casino in Shingle Springs expected this year, some said.
Weber and council members Ted Long and Jerry Birdwell were in favor of the expenditure, but Councilwoman Kathay Lovell opposed the funding, saying it would be “fiscally irresponsible” to spend the money on marketing during an economic crisis.
“We have to be prudent and fiscally responsible with our money. … We have essential services we have to provide,” Lovell said.
Lovell said the funding could be reconsidered in six months.
Councilman Bill Crawford left the meeting for personal business before the vote was taken.
In addition to the subject of marketing funds, other matters on the City Council agenda for Tuesday include:
— The council will consider asking the city attorney to draw up an ordinance to prohibit retail sales of puppies from “puppy mills” as a condition for receiving and keeping a city business license. The Humane Society of the United States describes puppy mills as mass dog-breeding operations. In some preliminary research of other California cities, the city manager could not find any examples of ordinances prohibiting the sale of puppy-mill dogs.
— The council will discuss a proposal to control erosion in the Al Tahoe neighborhood – a plan that could include making some streets one-way. The city manager wants to hear what council members and the public think of the proposal, and whether other alternatives should be explored before environmental review of the project begins.
— Comedian Howie Nave will make a presentation on his recent trip to Iraq.
The meeting starts at 9 a.m. in council chambers at the Lake Tahoe Airport. A full agenda and staff reports can be found on the city’s Web site, http://www.cityofslt.us.