Survey indicates mistrust of TRPA
Frustration and distrust toward Tahoe Regional Planning Agency environmental policies was apparent in a recent series of public forums and survey results sponsored by the chambers of commerce and visitors centers around Lake Tahoe.
“That it was an emotional issue was obvious in the public forum we held a couple weeks ago,” said Skip Sayre, president of the Tahoe-Douglas Chamber of Commerce and moderator for the luncheon forum on Feb. 23.
As a result, the sponsoring business organizations have called on the regional agency to provide additional opportunities for public discussion before embarking on the next phase of a search for more than $100 million in local revenue for environmental improvements.
According to a letter sent to the TRPA by the business organizations, anecdotal responses to the survey “reflect a pervasive atmosphere of mistrust, dissatisfaction and anger among the Basin residents regarding the TRPA, the (Environmental Impact Plan) itself, and the Alternative Revenue Sources identified to finance the EIP implementation. …
“It is our position that issuing the (request for proposals) for Phase 2 in the near future would be premature.”
The forums and surveys were designed to provide public input on TRPA’s Alternative Revenue Source Study Phase 1, which identified 20 possible ways to fund environmental improvements, and to help narrow the scope of the proposed Phase 2 study.
“It’s important that we solicit input from the business community because the business community will no doubt be effected by this at some point,” Sayre said.
TRPA officials, who also participated in the forums, have encouraged the involvement of the business organizations in the study and in gathering public input. The letter and survey results were compiled in time for next week’s TRPA Board of Governors meeting.
Participants in the forums and survey were asked to list which of the 20 items warranted additional study. Business officials and forum participants repeatedly emphasized that support of additional research did not automatically indicate support for implementation of any of the revenue sources.
The proposed revenue sources that received the most support for study in Phase 2 were: 1. Vehicle registration fee increases in 15 counties in Northern California and Northern Nevada, 2. Gas tax increases in those counties, 3. A basin impact fee, 4. A basinwide sales tax, 5. A basinwide entertainment tax, and 6. Transient occupancy tax increases.
The forums and survey were sponsored by the Tahoe-Douglas Chamber of Commerce, South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce, Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, Lake Tahoe Village Crystal By Visitors & Convention Bureau, and Incline Village-Crystal Bay Chamber of Commerce.
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