Letters to the editor for Dec. 10
Let me be one of the first to join with my colleague, Councilman Bill Crawford, in thanking the Tribune for taking a serious look at blight in our town (Dec. 4). Better yet, let me thank John Runnels and his Citizens Alliance for their interest in the subject. I can only hope that they will start with Mr. Runnels’ property, which graces the entrance to our city – first impressions do count.
I feel I would be a little negligent to not point out that I think that Councilman Crawford misunderstands the major benefit of redevelopment, and that is of infrastructure replacement and repair. There is no doubt that individual members of the community would take steps to improve their property; the issue is, will they build new water systems, sewers, drainage, curbs and gutters?
For example, the water company serving the “Y” area is in disrepair and inadequate. The needed repairs and upgrades in the area would cost approximately $45 million. Where will that money come from? Either the taxpayer or ratepayers, or, with redevelopment, the property owners through the value of property improvements, called “tax increment,” only available with redevelopment.
It should also be pointed out that at the northern end of town, more than 60 properties were combined to complete Heavenly Village and the current Chateau project; of those, only three or four were not only looking to get out, but were also thrilled with the decision to redevelop. As far as I know, no little old ladies were displaced – only rundown motels that rushed in the ’60s to capitalize on the Winter Olympics and were built without concern for the environment.
Redevelopment is an important tool, and the community should consider its use carefully. I would only ask that the public get all the facts before deciding: Would you want Stateline to look like it did before redevelopment? If we want to improve the other areas, it will take more than a few property owners painting and redecorating. It is a community decision, and I look forward to the debate with an open mind.
South Lake Tahoe City Council