Progress for Tahoe recommendations to voters on city measures (opinion)
Tribune Guest Column
Election Day is Nov. 8. There are several measures on the ballot in the City of South Lake Tahoe that will have wide-ranging effects for not only residents of the city, but for residents of El Dorado and Douglas counties as well. Progress for Tahoe makes the following recommendations for each measure:
Measure U, Vote Yes: Measure U increases sales tax in the city by a 1/2 cent. That is the equivalent of 5 cents for every $10 spent. Effectively it is only a 1/4 cent increase because the previous sales tax increase brought about by Prop 30 is going to expire. The tax will not apply to groceries or prescription drugs. The city council has passed a resolution that requires an advisory vote from citizens on where the sales tax money should go. The advisory vote is: Measure Q for housing, Measure R for roads, or Measure S for capital improvements such as a new city hall. The advisory measure that receives the most yes votes will receive 100 percent of the revenue from the sales tax increase if Measure U passes.
Measure Q, Vote Yes: Progress for Tahoe recommends voting yes on Measure Q for housing. An increase in funds for workforce housing is a necessary first step in dealing with this crisis, which is only going to get worse. Progress for Tahoe has presented numerous plans to the city to deal with housing. These solutions have included the creation of a city-level housing authority, the creation of a nonprofit to apply for housing grants, the addition of inclusionary zoning in the city, and the offer of tax incentives to developers to construct high quality low cost housing units. We were told that none of these solutions were viable at the current time. We refuse to let this issue be swept under the rug, not after it has gained so much traction and a sense of urgency with locals. The time to deal with it is now. Vote yes on Measure Q to support housing in South Lake Tahoe.
Measure P, Vote Yes: The South Lake Tahoe Recreation Center is 40 years old. Measure P increases Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) in the City from 10 percent to 12 percent and uses the additional funds to pay for a bond strictly limited to recreation. Measure P does not increase taxes for locals, but locals will reap all the benefits. TOT is a tax only on tourists. This increase will only bring the city’s TOT up to average compared to the rest of California, which is why Measure P is fully supported by the Lodging Association. The first priority of the bond is the construction of a new Recreation Center, the plans for which call for a state-of-the-art sports complex. Apart from providing locals with beautiful new facilities, this will put South Lake Tahoe on the map as an indoor sports tournament destination estimated to generate millions of dollars for our local economy, and increase visitorship during shoulder season periods.
Measure T, Vote No: Measure T has been marketed as democracy with the illusion of an up or down vote by citizens on the Loop Road, but it is nothing of the sort. If Measure T passes, all it does is prohibit the city council from casting any vote in favor of any Loop Road proposal or any project or study that stems from the project. The measure is so vague, that if it passes, the city council will be forced to go to court to ask a judge what it actually means. The city has little if any influence on the Loop Road since it is a federal project, so passing a measure that would prevent the city from taking action on the project is meaningless and a waste of taxpayer dollars. Voting down Measure T won’t cause a Loop Road to be built. If Measure T fails, it will just maintain the constitutionally appointed powers of the city council to weigh in on the portions of any project that will affect the city.
Progress for Tahoe is a grassroots group of concerned local citizens who have gathered together to address the most pressing issues in Tahoe. We believe in forward-thinking solutions that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in the Tahoe region, while preserving our natural resources, to grow the economy for the benefit of all Tahoe locals.