LTVA to scrutinize airport use of contingency funds
A month after the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority board of directors committed money from its contingency fund for an airport consultant, one board member wants the purpose of the fund clarified and remaining dollars possibly put to use.
“It needs to be defined what its intended uses are,” Don Miner, the LTVA’s representative from Douglas County, said on Tuesday.
The contingency fund is among the topics of discussion on the agenda for the LTVA Board of Directors meeting scheduled today at 4 p.m. at the Lakeland Village Lakeshore Room.
During the LTVA’s Jan. 22 board of directors meeting, the directors approved $73,700 for a contract with Vesta Rea & Associates to promote the Lake Tahoe Airport to officials of established airlines and to bring back a commitment for regular commercial flights.
Miner cast the sole dissenting vote.
Last Thursday, Miner told his fellow Douglas County Commissioners that “historically there was a different intent than what has recently been done …
“It’s important to put promotional money into promotions that are proven,” he said, promising to “pursue the use of the $190,000” left in the fund, possibly for international marketing or additional special-event promotions.
According to Miner, the fund was set aside to accumulate for the creation and promotion of an event that would be self-sustaining after an initial push.
“All the board (members),” which he characterized as a new board, “need to know what the purpose of the fund is,” Miner said, though he conceded he would go along with the majority vote on the airport subject.
According to LTVA board Chairman Mike Weber, vice president of Camp Richardson Resort, the use of the fund for the airport contract did not set a precedent because it had already been tapped into in 1994 to fund the Tahoe-Douglas Visitors Center as well as the Lake Tahoe Dragon Boat Festival.
Referring to the approval of the airport contract, Weber said, “it was put before the board and the board voted for it with the recommendation from the marketing committee. The process was followed. There will always be times when someone has trouble with the process.”
The money was not for another study as some have criticized, he said. The approved funds are for marketing the airport.
Weber also questioned whether the rest of the fund should be put immediately to use as Miner suggested.
“We need the fund to carry through lapses in funding (or if an emergency comes up such as last year’s mudslide that closed U.S. Highway 50),” he said.
“To the question, is the LTVA a fat cow? The answer is no.”
According to LTVA Controller Debra Kirk, the so-called contingency fund originated in 1991 from a rollover of funds saved on an advertising campaign. The $250,000 in what is officially known as the “fund balance media rollover” was designated for future “media placement,” she said.
Following the airport contract commitment, $145,000 remains in the uncommitted fund.
Also on the agenda for Thursday’s board of directors meeting is a revision to the makeup of the LTVA committees; possible selection of a coordinator for the proposed Labor Day Weekend Special Event; and a presentation by Blane Henry of Development Associates on marketing Lake Tahoe in Europe with a Europe-based representative.
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