TDVA looks at Kahle Park
Regardless of the Tahoe-Douglas Visitors Authority’s opinion, Kahle Park Phase II will proceed, the county representative to the board says.
“I believe that once they see the numbers, they’ll see the impact isn’t as great as they anticipated,” said Douglas County Commissioner and TDVA Director Steve Weissinger, who was one of three commissioners who approved the proposal Jan. 8 to bond room tax revenue to fund the project with two opposing votes. “The project is going to move forward anyway. We’d like to have the support of the TDVA.”
While supporting expansion of the park, the four TDVA board members representing the gaming industry previously expressed concern for the precedent of using transient occupancy taxes intended for tourism promotion to fund county services. AB616, the legislative bill that created the organization, was designed to curtail that use.
Before taking an official position on bonding, the directors asked for more details on the impact on funds for promotions.
County Manager Dan Holler was expected to deliver that information to board members late Monday, but was unavailable to provide details of his report.
The TDVA board of directors agenda for Wednesday includes discussion and possible action on the issue. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Douglas County Administrative Building near Kahle Drive.
Without seeing the county report, Steve Teshara, the executive director of the Lake Tahoe Gaming Alliance and spokesman for the TDVA, would not speculate on what might or might not be of concern to the TDVA directors. However, he felt the bonding issue was far from a done deal.
“It’s a more lengthy process than people have been led to believe,” he said. “There are a lot of signposts to go by,” including state approval.
Weissinger also expects the bonding process to take time.
Before bonds should be sold, he said, the community needs to pass in September a quarter-cent sales tax increase to replace funding for city services that will be lost to tourism promotions beginning in 1999. Without that tax increase, severe cuts to county services will be required and the funds to maintain the Kahle Park addition may not be there, Weissinger said.
Then, it would take three months to issue the bonds.
That’s long enough that bonding would not impact the current Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority 1997-98 Marketing Plan, he said.
Weissinger admits that there would be a financial impact, especially during the five years when bonding for Phase I and Phase II overlapped. But despite that impact, promotional funds would be well above historical levels.
“From my perspective, with AB616, more money than ever will be available for the promotion of tourism at Lake Tahoe,” Weissinger said.
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