As your new incoming President of South Tahoe Chamber I am eager to take on the current and future challenges. However I am humbled by the responsibility of working on behalf of our Chamber members and gratefully thank the past presidents for their excellent leadership in building and making a strong Chamber organization these past 11 years. This Chamber is privileged to have three members who have graduated the elite Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives training program. Most chambers may have one. Our future is looking good. As a City of South Lake Tahoe small business owner for 32 years I am aware of the many pitfalls that face businesses. As a Chiropractic Doctor I come in contact with scores of business owners. I effectively have become a counselor of sorts as I listen to the aches and pains that small business owners go through. Their employees have a difficult time finding a reasonable place to live. The employers have a hard time finding good locations to rent at a reasonable rate. Additionally as the businesses begin to succeed as a result of their hard work the increased pressures of staying up with ever changing technology, business license fees and taxes from the multiple governmental agencies. Our Chamber Board has focused ourselves on helping the fight, with many other concerned individuals, to solve the housing issues and we have worked to have our City and County get back to the basics of properly funding Police, Fire fully and then road plowing and fixing potholes.
If increased taxes are necessary then get the fully disclosed information to the voters and allow their collective judgment rule the politians. The Chamber is fighting to get the tough questions answered accurately and the report the information to our members. The answer isn’t always higher taxes but rather in some cases lower taxes and fees in many cases. For instance the states such as Texas and our own neighbor Nevada use lower taxes and fees to lure companies like Tesla. Our Chamber has found ourselves in the position of asking the hard questions regarding projects. One project that we have had many questions on is the by-pass loop road planned for taking out about 97 housing units and many businesses. Our City voters voted by a huge 60% majority to have the voters have a say if our City is involved. That is still being litigated, but the City appears not to be vigorously supporting the voters. So we as a Chamber must. A roundabout is planned in Meyers that no one we know is in favor of. We find ourselves working to have a better design and we are very concerned that four years or more of construction on Highway 50 in both Meyers and Stateline at the same time will cause our customers to stay away. One only has to look at the for sale signs in down town Carson City on the old Highway 395 to visualize the possible effect here at home. All the problems aside we have found that talking and working together especially in coalitions can move our community forward in ways that will help our businesses that are the back bone of our community. Our Chamber can lead the way by modeling its unity and true concern representing the current and future hard working business owners of South Lake Tahoe.
David Borges DC
You don’t have to be a big business to get the attention you need from the South Tahoe Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber Board at our annual strategy workshop last year laid out the steps needed to strengthen our role of assisting small businesses in our community. This action was in response to increasing requests for assistance from small business owners who are feeling overwhelmed by the system. This February we met again in a retreat setting to evaluate where we were, where we are, where we need to go and how we intend to get there. The Board also chose a new Executive Director, Tamara Wallace, who has the right set of experience, skills and energy to accomplish all the Chamber Goals as well as handle the myriad of government crises and member issues that come at us. Tamara has hit the ground running. Besides working on transportation, City, County and TRPA issues she has started meeting face to face with as many of our member business owners and managers as she can in order to be sure of what you all need from our Board and staff. Tamara is a graduate of the Institute for Organization Management, USD, as well as the former Economic Development VP at the Greater Tulare Chamber of Commerce.
It was pointed out by Board members in our retreat that in addition to redevelopment which benefits large businesses that we must step up our role as pro-active economic development advocates for small business. There are those businesses that want to expand but don’t have the resources to hire expensive experts to help them. There are those who need help because they have become tangled up in the regulatory web and just want to survive. Specifically, last year the Board set goals that improved our listening, evaluating, supporting and advocating for our business members. In response to the Board goals and strategies this year, Tamara has put our plans to pen in an extensive Plan of Work that lays out goals, priorities and steps toward success in meeting each goal. Recommendations included in our plan will include the following elements. We will stay involved with the TRPA regulation and permit streamlining process. Our Board and Executive Director will continue to be a helpline group of individuals that business people can voice their concerns to. Our current legislative task force has had many challenges to take on this past year. That looks to be the case this year also as we continue as watchdogs on the implementation of community plans and recently passed ordinances. We will continue to break down.
South Tahoe Chamber of Commerce