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August 31, 2012
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August Q&A with county manager Steve Mokrohisky

Douglas County Manager Steve Mokrohisky participates in a monthly question and answer forum online on The Record-Courier's daily Running Commentary. Anyone with questions is welcome to participate in the next scheduled forum on Sept. 12 at 10:30 a.m. Here are excerpts of the last forum:

Q: Why can't the County make the tax assessment statements easier to understand? I just want to know how much my taxes will be this year. Shouldn't they be able to add that calculation?

A: Your tax bill includes a breakdown of funds required for each taxing district, as well as the percentage breakdown and property tax rate. So, it should be clear how much of your tax dollars is going to each separate entity. Additionally, property tax assessments are done by the Assessor's Office annually to determine in combination with the adopted tax rate from each taxing entity what your property taxes are. Since this is done on an annual basis, it would not be possible to provide the exact property tax calculation for the next year. I would be happy to discuss this further with Doug Sonneman, Douglas County's elected Assessor and provide more information. I also encourage you to contact Doug directly — he's very responsive to residents.

Q: There have been a couple of letters to the editor referring to the golf outing that some most of the county commissioners recently participated in. Because of the golf outing, a regularly scheduled meeting had to be postponed. Is this an unusual event, and do you know how the entry fees were paid for?

A: The July 19 Board meeting at Lake Tahoe was rescheduled to July 23 in the Valley, in part due to the fact that the Board had a small number of items and meetings at the Lake are occasionally rescheduled or canceled to accommodate other meetings or events, as well as to reduce the cost of travel to the Lake. The Board is only required by County Code to meet in the County seat (Minden) on the first Thursday of each month. The Lake meeting is not required and has been canceled in the past for events such as the Nevada Association of Counties conference and/or few business items. Having said that, I think it's fair to say that the golf event was a consideration for some Commissioners in the rescheduling of the meeting. I am not aware of how the entry fees were paid, but to my knowledge the County did not pay for any of the cost of the event.

Q: The East Fork of the Carson River has dried up at Lutheran Bridge and county ranchers say this is the worst irrigation season they remember. What ability does the county have to help in years like this? Is there any discussion of eventually rebuilding the old power dam?

A: Douglas County assisted the State of Nevada in its process to evaluate and ultimately declare a drought emergency to the Department of Agriculture. We worked with the Ag community on this and we recommended to the Governor, and the Governor recommended to the Department. of Ag to declare the drought in Douglas County. This declaration allows ranchers to access federal funds for loss of revenue due to a drought. There are no plans to fix the dam at this time that I am aware of.

Q: Will NDOT be doing any median work in Minden in front of the Carson Valley Inn? There used to be temporary delineators, but they were removed for paving and now it's just re-striped.

A: The Carson Valley Inn, Sheriff's Office and other officials requested that NDOT delay the planned median in front of CVI. It is my understanding that CVI is concerned about access issues and the Sheriff's Office is concerned about flow of traffic and safety. After many discussions, NDOT ultimately agreed to delay the project for one year and evaluate the need for a median at a later date. So, no median will be installed in front of CVI for now.

Q: Is there any appetite at the county level to alter the controlled burning ordinance in light of the findings in the investigation of the TRE fire?

A: East Fork Fire is evaluating the potential of modifying the controlled burning ordinance, but no final recommendations or decisions have been made. East Fork Fire is working with the District Attorney's Office to evaluate this issue and we will keep you informed on this in the future. One important point — Nevada Revised Statutes allows for controlled burning on agricultural land. So, we would not anticipate making changes to controlled burning that would impact agriculture.

Q: Congratulations on the county's win against FEMA and the flood maps. Can you tell us what that means for the residents and again, Do we have to wait for revised maps to get the Johnson Lane Park?

A: We have a tentative meeting with FEMA scheduled for September. We will plan to aggressively push for FEMA to fund all appropriate costs incurred by the County to date, as well as establish an interim solution that removes residents impacted by the new flawed maps out of the flood zone. It is my understanding that the maps currently in place that were adopted by FEMA will have to stand until we agree to an interim solution that benefits our resident. I can assure you that this issue is a top priority and we intend to make progress on behalf of and to benefit our residents. As for the Johnson Lane park issue, we really need to wait to see how the FEMA map issue is resolved on an interim and long term basis before we take further action.

Any public officials interested in participating in a similar online forum can contact The Record-Courier at or 782-5121, ext. 212

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The Record Courier Updated Aug 31, 2012 04:55PM Published Aug 31, 2012 04:53PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.