RDA#2 is a citizen's rip-off

By Virginia Starrett

Redevelopment Area #2 does not serve the best interests of Douglas County and its taxpayers; instead, it takes substantial revenue, revenue that is sorely needed, away from the county general fund. In 2016, Douglas County's Board of County Commissioners (Steve Thaler, Barry Penzel, Greg Lynn, Doug Johnson, and Nancy McDermid) made a hasty, poorly-considered, and premature decision to create Redevelopment Area #2 (RDA#2) at Lake Tahoe. It was essential to establish Redevelopment then because under Nevada law, all increases in property taxes received after the date a redevelopment area is set in place must be spent on projects within the redevelopment area. In the case of RDA#2, the amount of "increases in property taxes" to be spent in RDA#2 is projected by Douglas County to be 116 million dollars, and that 116 million dollar increase would be coming almost exclusively from the Edgewood Tahoe Lodge and the Tahoe Beach Club, both of which were planning to open for business within months. The absence of RDA#2 would have meant that the gigantic increase in property tax revenue from two prime sources would go into the general fund. The backers of what is being called "Economic Development" at Lake Tahoe couldn't let that happen! They needed it to benefit themselves.

The main project, and said to be main purpose, of RDA#2 is a 6,000 seat Event Center (to be built on land near the Montbleu Casino) currently estimated to cost 80 million dollars. Douglas County would be using Redevelopment revenue to float a 20 to 25 million dollar bond. The remainder of RDA revenue would be spent on "high priority" projects such as a beachfront walkway from ____________ to ____________ (XX million dollars), beautifying Kahle Drive (the entrance road to the Tahoe Beach Club Condos) (7 million dollars), and ultimately to spruce up a redesigned Casino Corridor. This report was assembled to expose how unreliable, unsubstantiated, insufficient, and/or overly-optimistic the arguments and data are that have been put forth to sway the public, including the Commissioners, that an Event Center and/or Redevelopment will bring financial rewards to either the Casino Corridor or Douglas County in its entirety. RDA#2 is part of an outmoded, discredited tool that has been proven to facilitate corruption and waste. Douglas County should not be partaking in RDA#2 or the financing of an Event Center.

It's time for the taxpayers of Douglas County to stop this tax rip-off in its tracks.