Laguna is robbing Peter to pay Paul, however in this case, you the resident, is Peter and the tourist is Paul.
As pointed out many times by John Thomas and also in a recent article by J.J. Gasparotti, we are a town that is wandering around paying for whatever we need with the results of high property values and ever flowing real estate taxes. We are able to spend on many things because the money is there. Both Mr. Thomas and Mr. Gasparotti have mentioned that we are using a significant amount of residential real estate tax income to fund the support services for tourist activities in our town.
The residents are in fact subsidizing the tourist-related retail stores, bars and restaurants by using a significant portion of residential property taxes to pay for tourist support services, police services, DUI’s, lifeguard protection, street and park clean up after big tourist events. This is using funds provided by residents that could be directed more towards end results that are more needed and valued by the residents. The residents don’t yet seem to fully understand that the tourism industry and related retail businesses are, to a significant extent, living off of the backs of the residential property owners. Once this is clearly understood by the residents, I can’t imagine why things would not blow up. It feels to me like this model of leadership and method of balancing the books is on borrowed time.
Roger McErlane, Laguna Beach