Make your voice count this fall (opinion)
Tribune Opinion Columnist
Change is on the way and events this fall will have long-lasting impacts on our community. Do not miss your chance to speak up and help drive the future of Lake Tahoe.
Affordable housing is at the forefront of everyone’s minds at the moment, and for good reason. Many people simply cannot afford to work and live here. Talented and engaged community members are forced to leave the area and businesses cannot attract the employees they need to grow.
Tahoe Regional Young Professionals are hosting a Tahoe Town Hall on Aug. 17 to talk about affordable housing issues with a panel of local experts. The event will feature a discussion and question-and-answer session; visit http://bit.ly/2ac2loe for more information. We will also be teaming up with the Tahoe Daily Tribune to bring a series of articles on the topic. The first story of this series appears here.
Affordable housing is only one part of the equation. We also need a directed push for economic development to diversify our economy and bring careers, not just jobs, to the Tahoe area. We need to have the well-paying careers in multiple industries that will attract a talented workforce and bring stability to our seasonal economy.
This November, voters will decide several local ballot measures that — if passed — could help drive our community and economy. The City of South Lake Tahoe will be bringing forward two ballot measures to increase local taxes. The first is a two-percent increase on hotel and rental stays (transient occupancy tax); this money would be used to fund the construction of a new recreation complex in town. If completed, this project would be the centerpiece to our recreation-based economy and bring in national tournaments for a variety of sports.
The second ballot measure would increase sales tax a half-percent, and with an existing sales tax expiring, would equal a net increase of a quarter-percent. Voters will have three choices on how the money is spent — housing, road construction and maintenance, or capital investments for facilities and equipment. More details will be released about these choices closer to the elections.
In addition to key ballot measures, there are two open seats on the South Lake Tahoe city council, with council members serving a four-year term. The filing period to run for city council is now open through Aug. 12. Get to know all the candidates who are running and vote for the ones that represent your views. Be informed, take this choice seriously, and vote.
This fall is going to be extremely important for our community and future. Do not let this opportunity slip from your fingers. The actions we take today will shape what our town becomes tomorrow.
Devin Middlebrook is the civic engagement committee chair for the Tahoe Regional Young Professionals. For comments, questions, or more information on how to get involved please email Devin and firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.tahoetryp.org.