County ponies up for tourism campaign |

County ponies up for tourism campaign

Gregory Crofton

Douglas County leaders on Thursday approved the use of $25,000 from its portion of a hotel room tax to fund an advertising campaign that will market Lake Tahoe as a destination for Las Vegas residents.

The marketing effort is being led by Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority and set to kickoff by the end of the month and last for 14 weeks. It will cost $400,000 and include a billboard, television and print ads and a Web site,, which is under construction.

The rest of the cost of the ad campaign will be covered by other funds collected from the 10 percent transient occupancy room tax.

“We want to offer the cool Tahoe climate in the summer to the Vegas market where it’s very hot,” said Mike Bradford, a board member of the visitors authority who made a presentation to the Douglas County Board of Commissioners at Stateline on Thursday.

“People there are working on the weekend and are free during the week,” Bradford said. “That’s when we need visitors because we’re full on weekends during the summer. We have a 25- to 45-year-old target audience. It’s the younger group we’re going for.”

The campaign, which will also involve promotional events through Southwest Airlines, is expected to continue year round for the next couple of years. In winter its focus will shift to Heavenly Mountain Resort. A tentative slogan for the campaign is “It’s so cool – Heavenly,” Bradford said.

The infusion of cash from Douglas County takes some of the pressure off the visitors authority, Bradford said.

“California is pulling back on its marketing, so it’s refreshing to go to Douglas County and have them offer additional marketing dollars,” Bradford said. “It gives us a little breathing room.”

Douglas County imposes a 10 percent tax for each room rented within its boundaries. By law the money can be used to fund tourism promotion or to fund the airport, the library system or parks and recreation facilities.

Voting machines

Commissioners also heard a presentation from Douglas County Clerk Barbara Reed about what type of voting machines will be used for the primary election on Sept. 7.

Reed said she still doesn’t know. The county is still awaiting the arrival of 150 touch-screen voting machines. They were to arrive in April, then it was May 15. The latest deadline is set on Tuesday.

The delay, Reed said, is due to a printer problem associated with the machines. Reed said she needs the machines in Douglas County as soon as possible so she can make sure they work and begin educating the public on how they are used.

“We’re almost at the point of crisis mode,” Reed said. “Hopefully in June we’ll have a more positive direction.”

Counties in Nevada do not have the option of going back to a punch card voting system. The system has been made illegal by Secretary of the State Dean Heller.

If the touch-screen machines don’t arrive in time, the county will have to expand the optical scan system it plans to use for absentee ballots. The system scans cards similar to how standardized tests are scored.

– Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at

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