New BID petition hits the street
The South Lake Tahoe Lodging community is preparing to tax itself. Its advocacy group has begun to hit the streets with a petition to form a business improvement district to fund tourism efforts.
A dozen people representing the local association intends to sign on support among the 155 lodging establishments in town. Lodging Association President Jerry Bindel said his tour de force has already collected 25 signatures equaling 32 percent of the more than 50 percent needed. For example, a property with $100,000 in revenues would net 6 percent of the 50 percent needed.
If all goes as planned, the district will come before the South Lake Tahoe City Council in July and go into effect Nov. 1.
“The one concern we’re hearing is where is the money going,” Bindel said, referring to advertising markets to target. “But overall, people have been supportive.”
If a weighted vote adds up to over half supporting the venture, the city will help the group collect an estimated $1.6 million in annual revenue hotels would charge their guests. This assessment would be added to the 10- and 12 percent standard and redevelopment properties already tack on their bills. On Oct. 31, Measure Z expires. The voter-approved initiative that collected $1.50 per room, per night from motel guests was earmarked for the city’s general fund.
The proposed Tourism Improvement District, TID, would charge an additional $2 per room, per night on hotels and motels and $3 on vacation home rentals. The money is intended to go toward marketing efforts spearheaded by the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, the $2.4 million tourism agency managing the Blue World campaign. The proposed TID came about after diminished marketing subsidies by the city prompted a similar citywide business improvement district that eventually failed. These marketing efforts comprise activities ranging from visitor center operations to special events funding.
Five board of directors would oversee the TID under a five-year commitment. Thereafter, the district would need to be voted on each year.