Over $5 million in tourism funds reinvested in North Lake Tahoe in 2022 | SierraSun.com

Over $5 million in tourism funds reinvested in North Lake Tahoe in 2022

Projects like the Martis Valley Trail were provided additional funding from TOT.
Photo courtesy Placer County

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — From workforce housing and free regional transportation programs to trail, recreation and tourism mitigation projects, funds generated by businesses and visitors in North Lake Tahoe contributed to efforts to improve regional stewardship efforts and economic vitality in 2022. In total, over $5 million in transient occupancy tax and Tourism Business Improvement District revenues were recommended by local committees to be reinvested in the community last year.

“Leveraging both TOT and TBID revenues provided new opportunities for our community in 2022. Funds were used to support projects and programs that are helping provide solutions related to workforce housing and transportation, and aid local businesses as our region shifts toward a stewardship approach in management,” said Tony Karwowski, North Lake Tahoe Resort Association president and CEO. “Looking ahead, our board and volunteer committees are in search of more projects and programs to support with TOT and TBID funds that will contribute to the vitality of our business community and our region.”

Funds generated by the TBID assessments are managed by the NLTRA with oversight from the NLTRA Board of Directors and corresponding committees, made up of representatives from assessed businesses. Annual TBID revenues are to be used for responsible travel and stewardship education, including efforts to offset tourism impacts, bolster a year-round economy, and support local businesses. Examples of project categories that can be funded with TBID dollars include economic development, events, transportation, sustainability, business support and advocacy, and visitor services. 

Funds generated by overnight visitors are managed by Placer County. The Capital Projects Advisory committee, brought together by the NLTRA and Placer County, makes recommendations to the Placer County Board of Supervisors for the use of the additional 2% TOT that is generated in eastern Placer County to contribute to projects and quality of life services like workforce housing, traffic reduction and transportation initiatives, bike paths and trails, and more. The newly formed TOT committee, overseen by the NLTRA, will recommend additional TOT funds to the Placer County Board of Supervisors for workforce housing and transportation projects and programs.

Here are some of the key projects funded in 2022:

Key Projects Supported by the TBID

In its first year, projects that requested TBID funding were supported with over $750,000, including:

  • 2023 Local events that bring the character and spirit of our communities to life for residents and visitors
  • 2023 Event sponsorships that occur primarily during off-peak season times of year and contribute to the region’s year-round economy
  • Funding of the annual operating contracts for the North Tahoe Business Association and the Tahoe City Downtown Association in support of the local business community
  • Downtown lighting programs in Tahoe City and Kings Beach
  • Drone Light Shows in Kings Beach and Tahoe City over Labor Day weekend
  • Funding for ambassadors to promote stewardship and responsible travel tenants to visitors during peak periods at parks and trailheads 
  • Ongoing marketing to support responsible travel and stewardship education efforts

Key Initiatives Supported by TOT

In 2022, over $4M was allocated to projects that align with the North Lake Tahoe Tourism Master Plan’s quality of life initiatives and recommended by the NLTRA Board of Directors or CAP committee, namely:

  • Continuation of the free, on-demand microtransit service that is being offered year-round through TART Connect.
  • Funding of the new Lease to Locals program that incentivizes vacation home owners to rent long-term to the local workforce in North Lake Tahoe.
  • Support for pre-development efforts related to the proposed Dollar Creek Workforce Housing project.
  • Funding for trails and recreation including the Martis Valley Trail, Waddle Ranch Trail Loop, Resort Triangle Trails, Tahoe Cross Country Lodge Entitlement Process, Donner Summit Recreation Plan, Van Norden Meadow Restoration and Recreation Project, Tahoe City Gateway Trail, North Tahoe Regional Park Tennis and Pickleball Reconstruction Project, Tahoe Vista Recreation Area Marina Trail and Scenic Overlook Improvement Project, and the Sequoia Trail Crossing.
  • Tourism mitigation initiatives including funding toward the purchase of the Tahoe City Public Utility District’s changeable message sign and solar trash compactors.

A grant framework was approved by the NLTRA BOD for its committees to efficiently consider, recommend and award TOT and TBID funds, and will be presented at the Placer County Board of Supervisors January 24, 2023 meeting.  The framework will be used to evaluate projects and programs seeking funding in the areas of but not limited to:  workforce housing, transportation, business advocacy and support, and tourism impact mitigation.

Learn more about TOT and TBID funding and the projects each have supported at https://www.nltra.org/resources/tbid-resources/.

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