Resort association petitioning for Tourism Business Improvement District
The North Lake Tahoe Resort Association has begun petitioning for the creation of a Tourism Business Improvement District, or a TBID.
If approved by local businesses, it would take over funding the resort association, allowing Transient Occupancy Tax funds to be used for housing and transportation projects.
“There’s been a critical shortage of funding for workforce housing and transportation in the North Lake Tahoe region,” said Rob Kautz, TBID specialist with the resort association.
Two years ago, he said the businesses in North Lake Tahoe began looking at how to address those shortages, including raising the Transient Occupancy Tax or sales tax.
“We felt it would be more equitable to do a TBID that would assess all businesses that benefit from tourism,” said Kautz.
The North Lake Tahoe Resort Association currently relies on funding from Transient Occupancy Taxes to operate. Kautz said the resort association made an agreement with the county that if it forms a TBID, those TOT dollars would be redirected toward workforce housing and transportation.
In addition to lodging, the TBID will assess food and beverages, retail and recreational activities such as lift tickets and ski rentals.
“We’re not just putting the burden of workforce housing and transportation issues on the lodging community,” said Kautz. “Any business that benefits from tourism should be part of the solution.”
If approved, north shore lodging businesses would be charged an assessment of 2% of their revenue; Northstar California and Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows lodging would pay 1%, as they already pay assessments in that region; and retailers and restaurants would pay 1%. The weight of each petition is based on the estimated amount each business would pay, giving resorts a bigger vote.
Tourism Business Improvement Districts are designed, governed and created by those who pay an assessment and the funds cannot be diverted to general government programs. As North Lake Tahoe is an unincorporated area of Placer County, TOT funds collected are controlled by the county Board of Supervisors.
“If we form a TBID, then those dollars are controlled by the business community up here,” said Kautz.
The resort association has sent businesses in the North Lake Tahoe area that benefit from tourism a petition asking if they support a TBID. It expects to receive all the petitions back by March 16 and hopes to implement the TBID by July 1, according to Liz Bowling, director of communications for the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association.
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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