County funds misused, marketers say |

County funds misused, marketers say

Sally J. Taylor

Douglas County commissioners were out of line when they voted to fund Kahle Park Phase 2 with bonds secured by revenue from transient occupancy taxes set aside for promotional purposes, according to South Shore marketers.

The Nevada Legislature passed AB616 in the closing days of the 1997 session to increase Douglas County bed taxes and to redirect, over several years, a portion of existing TOT revenues previously used for county services to promote tourism at the lake.

The Tahoe-Douglas Visitors Authority, also created by AB616, will discuss the bonding proposal Wednesday during its board of directors meeting.

To attach a bond to those funds is inconsistent with the intent of AB616, said Steve Teshara, the executive director of the Lake Tahoe Gaming Alliance and acting staff for the Tahoe-Douglas Visitors Authority.

Depending on how much is bonded, the action “potentially takes away $200,000 per year that otherwise would go to promote Lake Tahoe,” he said.

The commissioners considered the bonding issue Thursday night before they discussed and approved the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority’s revised 1998 Marketing Plan.

Representatives from the TDVA and LTVA did not protest the bonding move at that time, Teshara said, for fear it would jeopardize approval of the new marketing plan, which “uses every available nickel” to promote Lake Tahoe tourism and had widespread support.

Legal counsel for the TDVA, Morgan R. Baumgarten with Lionel Sawyer & Collins, could not be reached for comment. The law firm was instrumental in drafting AB616.

The Tahoe-Douglas Visitors Authority will meet Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Douglas County Administrative Building across from Kahle Drive.

Also on the agenda is ratification of a contract for professional accounting services; designation of a secretary and treasurer for the new organization; possible action on changes to the LTVA Marketing Plan; funding of the Tahoe Welcome Center at Reno/Tahoe International Airport; and possible action on a joint powers agreement with the county and city of South Lake Tahoe to fund the South Shore marketing plan.

For more information, call the Gaming Alliance at 588-2488.

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