Building on the BID |

Building on the BID

Pat Ronan

Well, the BID was an awful mess. The subcommittee members had very different ideas about where the money should go. It didn’t look like the BID lawsuit will be resolved for several months and the lodging association is saying that they are going to start their own BID anyway.

At the same time you still have splinter groups opposed to having to fund marketing at all because they don’t see its value. Many think that the infrastructure of our town should be the priority if we are going to have to tax ourselves.

So how can we come out of this on top and help solve a few problems for our town instead of adding to them? Believe it or not, an interesting idea has recently come together that might have the ability to do just that.

Few people seem to know that Caltrans has budgeted somewhere around $30 million to put into sidewalks, gutters, lamps, drainage, etc. on Highway 50 between the “Y” and Ski Run Boulevard. That would change the look of our town. Wouldn’t that be great! Let’s do it. What’s the hold up? Our understanding is that the hold up is that the city has to commit to Caltrans about $350,000 per year for maintenance of the road after it is complete and our city doesn’t have the money to commit. If the city can’t figure out a way to come up with the funds within about another year and a half, Caltrans can pull the funding and use it for some other project.

So what does this have to do with the current BID?

With the current BID dissolving why don’t we use the knowledge gained from this process and start a BID that would be for the sole purpose of funding the maintenance of Highway 50 after Caltrans upgrades the road? Everyone gains by this. Do we want another tax? Of course not, but if we don’t do it our town will never get an opportunity for this kind of much-needed face-lift again.

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The lodging association has already agreed in concept to this and they are willing to participate in both BIDs. This is a win-win for everyone. Lodging does its own thing for their marketing dollars and the entire town sees a huge improvement that will create a little pride in our town when you drive down the highway. Naturally the TRPA and environmentalists should like it because it solves the runoff problems that the road currently creates. Obviously a lot of details will have to be worked out, like the fees, etc., but if we use the unity created from the mess we just ended, maybe we could actually get something major accomplished that everyone could feel good about.

We can’t just sit back and hope that the City Council comes up with a plan. We need to take action now and do something that will make a major impact to our town. Losing that $30 million upgrade would be a travesty that our town cannot afford to let happen.

We have already presented this idea to many opposing groups on the BID issue and have heard very little opposition to this kind of a benefit to our community. If we are going to pursue another BID, then let’s do it right this time and get a benefit that everyone agrees would be a great improvement to South Lake Tahoe.

– Pat Ronan is a South Tahoe resident.