Please help protect our lake’s main industry, our lake visitors, and us the small business owners. VOTE NO on the Lodging Tax.

I want to share with our local friends how much it means to be a part of this community, as a small business owner, and also just how much we love and enjoy the lake.

My husband, Bruce, and I own Lake Breeze Resort. Small historical cabins along the lakeside. We own the resort because we love the traditional old-fashioned lake fun this resort offers to people. As you may suspect, owning a resort is not a highly profitable business. We choose it because we are lake people and enjoy sharing the lake with our guests (AND because we get free burgers, beer and lots of laughter from our guests!). Life is sweet at our small resort.

The past 7 years (since purchase) we have spent every ounce of time and tons of money into rebuilding the units and this resort’s reputation. Today, we are proud of Lake Breeze and the many repeat guests (now friends) that visit us year after year. Many are seniors and families on fixed incomes. Each year we grapple with the need to raise our rates versus our desire to keep rates low because we genuinely feel it will be harmful to those folks who come to our beautiful lake year after year. In the past, these have all been our decisions. Now, TCLA—who is supposed to be working on behalf of small business here at the lake—is trying to double our lodging tax from 3% to 6%. We will be forced to charge approx 12% total tax to my customers, forever (no sunset).

Our guests feel the impact of the TOTAL amount paid for a stay, they don’t discern between tax and lodging prices. This will affect tourism bookings and general tourism spending which could, as a result, detrimentally effect the lake and the people here, small business and lodging industry.

I am proudly pro-growth, pro-business and pro-fun at the Lake. That said, a $26 million dollar soccer complex will not help my business—or lake business in general—primarily because it will be operating during our full season here at the lake, overlapping (and conflicting) with Bikefest, Shootout and crappie spawning season. It is already busy here at those times and may cause overcrowding. It simply will not bring more business to the lake during the much needed off season (Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb).

It sounds good to have a soccer complex, but please read the small print closely, the devil is in the details. Ask yourself, why a lodging tax? (Hint: No locals will push back?) Why aren’t private investors pursuing this, if the projections are correct? Why weekend soccer and not something like a convention center for year-round and/or mid-week activity? Why are we not focused on our off season (Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb)? And finally, why do we think borrowing $26 million for a 22+ year pay back with no definite spending commitments is good for us who live here?

Please help protect our lake’s main industry, our lake visitors, and us the small business owners. VOTE NO on the Lodging Tax.

- Gena Aldrich, owner of Lake Breeze Resort in Camdenton