Letter to the editor- Conventioneers can use casino
To the editor-
After reading the article on Mr. Jim Foff, the new president of the Lodging Association, I felt compelled to respond to some of his comments. He states, “If we don’t do a convention center I don’t see how the city is going to survive.” Mr. Foff is dreaming if he thinks the city is going to have a chance at building a convention center. I think that with Harrah’s owing Harveys, it makes far more sense to just renovate the mountain tower into a convention center. By renovating, you do not have to wait for the city to buy, demolish and prepare for building the lots to be used. The conversion can be done at any pace regardless of the time of year. Even with the whole mountain tower as a convention center.
Harveys still has the casino and 538 rooms including its suites to accommodate the conventioneers. All of this of course means that all of the tax revenue stays in Douglas County. Mr. Foff states that he supports using a 1 or 2 percent TOT increase to pay for a convention center but not to balance the city books. Mr. Foff and others at the Lodging Association have lost sight of whose money the TOT really is. It is the city’s main form of revenue and the lodging properties are merely the collectors.
They are not unlike the guy taking my money at the Bay Bridge toll booth, he just collects it, he’s not allowed to spend any of it. Raising the TOT is precisely the way to overcome the city’s shortfall, but I feel it should be raised to 13 percent. A 2 percent increase for the city’s general fund and separate 1 percent increase to pay for snow removal equipment. It will be the city resident who decides what the Tahoe toll collectors will charge and remit to the city. We need to increase the price of admission to our fair city and that increase should come from the tourists. Just by being here they prove to have something that I do not and that is disposable income. Why not charge the people with extra rather than the local who is scraping by? A sales tax increase hits you and me were the TOT increase only effects them.
I find it funny that a large hotel owner wants to remove some of the little guys from the game. Mr. Foff states a desire for them to be converted to commercial shopping and parking lots. As I drive through town there seems to be plenty of overpriced commercial spaces available, what I don’t see is affordable housing. Many of the so called “lower performers” are serving a niche in this city a temporary affordable housing. It seems ludicrous to displace families to make a parking lot.
I make no secret that I will run for City Council in the fall election. Stopping these types of fiscal and social atrocities are just some of the reason why I will be running for office. Unlike other candidates who will come out of the woodwork at election time you will know where I stand long before voting day.
South Lake Tahoe
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