Kings Beach, Tahoe City eye improvement districts
Business groups in Kings Beach and Tahoe City are contemplating taxing themselves to raise money to maintain their downtowns, but the mechanisms being considered differ between the two groups.The North Tahoe Business Association is sponsoring a public meeting today to get input from property and business owners, and other members of the public, about implementing a property-based improvement district.Such a district would fund everything from removing snow, maintaining sidewalks, changing street lights, and emptying trash containers to creating community events, promoting the town, and decorating the town.I think it is important to form an improvement district for the consistency of maintenance, said Pam Jahnke, executive director of the North Tahoe Business Association. It makes the town nice.A tax could be applied to either commercial property owners or business owners, but a vote would determine if the district is established, the mechanism by which a tax would be assessed and collected, and what the owners would pay. Once a district is established, the assessed funds would funnel through the county, which would then pass the monies on to the business associations. The business associations would then handle the maintenance of the downtown areas.Marshall Nixon, who with his wife co-owns the Robins Nest in Kings Beach, said he would support an assessment tax as long as it was affordable.We are very much in support of getting sidewalks and lighting and having them maintained, Nixon said.Tahoe City downtown commercial property owners did not support a property improvement district when the towns sidewalks were built in the 1990s. The Tahoe City Downtown Association is now seeking an alternative to a property tax assessment and is considering a tax on business owners. Business owners are responsible for maintaining sidewalks in Tahoe City.If established, the improvement districts would likely be approved for five year terms and then be brought back to voters for re-approval.Dave Snyder, Placer Countys director of economic development, said if both towns approved improvement districts, there would be less of a dependence on the county for funds and resources. The county currently provides $65,000 a year to each business association, according to Snyder. Placers Economic Development office is helping the two associations establish districts.The North Tahoe Business Association is looking to form a property-based improvement district by 2010, when the Kings Beach commercial core improvement project is scheduled to be completed by the Placer County Public Works Department. The core improvement project includes building sidewalks in downtown Kings Beach.Kelly Atchley, executive director of the Tahoe City Downtown Association, said it costs about $30,000 to establish an improvement district. A plan developed in 2004 for the Tahoe City Downtown Association showed that it would cost $87,000 a year to maintain the downtown. The Tahoe City Public Utility District and the Tahoe City Downtown Association currently help maintain Tahoe City by removing snow and changing light bulbs. The Tahoe City Downtown Association is looking at past proposals the town has considered, which will take until April, Atchley said. The next step is for a vote to establish a district. Local business groups said they hope property and business owners attend todays meeting to get their questions about improvement districts answered.It ensures the ongoing quality of the community, said Atchley.
Property Based Improvement Districts Informational MeetingToday2-4 p.m.NTPUD Conference Center,8318 N. Lake Blvd., Kings BeachCall 546-9000 to register
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