Tony Karwowski: Vote ‘yes’ on Measure A: 2% TOT renewal paid by overnight visitors

Local elections matter, and so does every vote. Now that ballots for the June 7 election have begun to arrive in North Lake Tahoe mailboxes, I encourage all eligible eastern Placer County voters to vote “yes” on Measure A.

Measure A gives residents of eastern Placer County the ability to reauthorize the existing 2% Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) that is paid only by guests who stay in hotels and short-term rentals in the North Lake Tahoe area.

The 2% revenues generated in the North Lake Tahoe TOT Area since 1996 have been used to support projects and programs that benefit our community – from transportation and trails initiatives, to increased trash pick-up in popular public areas, and more. These funds have generated more than $45 million for local projects and services that have been leveraged to secure more than $300 million in matching project funds for the region.

Some of the projects that have been made possible thanks to TOT funds include the Commons Beach restoration, Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Project, Kings Beach Community House, Tahoe City Transit Center, SR89/Fanny Bridge Revitalization in Tahoe City, the Snow Creek wetlands restoration, and the Tahoe Pedestrian Safety Program.

Transformational, multi-use trail projects including the Martis Valley Trail that connects Northstar with the Martis Valley, and the Dollar Creek Trail expansion were also funded by TOT, and free public transportation has become a reality in North Lake Tahoe because of TOT funding. These services benefit our region’s economy, environment, and quality of life by improving mobility, air quality, access to jobs, and serving as a resource and amenity for both residents and visitors.

Most recently, using TOT dollars, Placer County has increased trash services, implemented pilot programs to address pedestrian safety, and funded microtransit services provided by TART Connect. Initiatives to support workforce housing and other transportation initiatives are also being pursued with TOT funds.

When you cast your vote, please vote “yes” to reauthorize Measure A. If it does not pass, our community stands to lose what equates to tens of millions of dollars of locally controlled funds annually that are used to improve infrastructure, quality of life, and the sustainability of our community.

Tony Karwowski works, lives, and plays in the greater North Lake Tahoe area

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