Why make something simple so complex?
Sometimes I am just amazed at how complex and difficult government can make things.
The BID was conceived by concerned business people in our town that were trying to come up with a plan to replace the marketing dollars that the city has taken from the LTVA and Chamber. Those dollars came from a simple formula, pretty much a pass-through of an additional 2 percent tax that was added on to the existing TOT. By taking that money from marketing, many businesses are already feeling the drop in revenues.
The BID was designed to replace and even increase the marketing dollars being spent to fund efforts to bring customers in to South Shore. It was designed to be used for that purpose and that purpose only.
So what is so confusing? It was made very clear at many public city council meetings that a lot of business people protesting the BID were doing so because they didn’t trust the City Council to use that money for one purpose and one purpose only – marketing.
I have sat at several meetings and heard City Council members state that they understood the value of marketing. That was right before they cut the marketing budget. I have also sat at several BID meetings where City Council members stated that they understood that the business community only wanted this money to be used for marketing.
So what is so confusing? The definition of “marketing” I found was: the act or process of buying or selling in a market. I didn’t notice anything about infrastructure or curbs and gutters or even snow removal. Do we need to improve all those things? Of course. But that is not why the business community had to take it upon themselves to try to salvage our dwindling economy. They had to do something because no one else is. So why is the City Council so adamant about having language in the BID that would allow the money to be used for things other than it is intended for? Perhaps the trust issue is a little bigger than many of us thought.
The BID Board being created is also getting confusing. It is supposed to make sure that the money goes to marketing organizations that will best utilize that money for its intended purpose. They are not supposed to be marketing experts but are supposed to use common sense to allocate the funds. Why would we want to have another ad hoc marketing board to make marketing decisions to give to existing marketing boards made up of people who do this for a living? Everyone already has the ability to make their thoughts known now just by showing up at meetings already taking place every month. I know government is at its best in making layer after layer of decision makers but right now I am only aware of two organizations set up to market our town: internally, the Chamber, and externally, the LTVA. If another organization comes up with a budget and plan that makes sense then the board should consider that as well.
On the bigger question, why even create the BID if it only raises about $300,000. Well, it might be nice to have everyone contribute to saving the only economy we have. Or we can sit back and hope the “good old boys” will keep doing it for us.
So why are we making this so complex?
– Pat Ronan is the owner of the Lakeshore Lodge and Spa in South Lake Tahoe.
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