What will Douglas do to survive?
The impact of a Lake Tahoe breakaway on the remaining portion of Douglas County is possibly one of the most crucial and most unknown aspects of the Tahoe County movement.
County commissioners have said they do not want to waste staff time on something that likely will not happen, and Tahoe Citizens Committee leaders say they want to mitigate the impact, but are frustrated with the lack of cooperation.
At the same time, Nevada legislators say the impact to Douglas County will be a key point in their decision on whether or not to create the new county.
Although the details of the impacts have yet to be released, county officials suspect they will be severe.
Douglas County Manager Dan Holler predicts that the immediate impact of Tahoe County on the valley will be a “maxing out” of the property tax rate.
A preliminary estimate shows a jump from 28 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to a possible 78 cents, which will more than double the amount of taxes paid by the average home owner.
Douglas County’s long-term health will depend on its ability to diversify its economy and the growth in the value of homes, he said.
But in order to survive, Holler said governments in the remaining valley will have more incentive to compete with the lake for sales tax dollars.
“We could focus on mid-range motel development and still market Lake Tahoe,” Holler said. “Stay in Douglas County for half the price and you’re 20 minutes from the lake.”
In Washoe County, the situation would be similar – it could focus all of its marketing efforts on the Reno area, which could draw tourists away from the North Shore.
“They will have taken away any incentive to market for the lake specifically, and created natural competition,” Holler said.
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