County Manager Q&A from Jan. 9
January 9, 2013
Q: We’ve heard Port of Subs is a potential tenant for the new gas station going in front of Walmart? Can you confirm this, and any restaurants or other businesses that may be looking at that shopping center?A: The proposed service station in front of the new Walmart, which is part of the Virginia Ranch commercial subdivision, is a Golden Gate Petroleum station. There is a Port of Subs that is planned to be part of the gas station. No construction permits have been submitted as of this date. We are not aware of any other businesses at this point.Q: Why did the county have Walmart pay for the Pine Nut realignment, yet it does not connect to the Walmart property? It currently stops at the irrigation canal behind Carson Valley Medical Center. Are there any plans to complete the connector to Virginia Ranch Road so at least seniors leaving the hospital zone don’t have to risk their life turning left onto 395? A: The realignment of Pinenut Road and construction of the new section of Muller Parkway was required as part of the Virginia Ranch commercial subdivision. Future sections of Muller Parkway will be constructed as additional commercial and residential development moves forward. The County is responsible for constructing portions of the northern section of Muller Parkway as development and traffic demand. The phased approach to constructing new roads as development and traffic demand is consistent with the County’s transportation plan and a typical practice in local communities.Q: Are there any new developments on the business or commercial side of things elsewhere in the County? What will happen to the Topsy Lane Walmart when the new one opens?A: The new Dollar General store opened recently in the Gardnerville Ranchos. A new Radio Shack and Five Guys restaurant opened at Topsy Lane recently. The tractor supply store at the Minden Gateway is under design review. The Maverick gas station at the Minden Gateway should open in the next few weeks. We have also seen a number of local businesses relocate to higher quality or larger spaces, which is a good sign. We don’t know at this point what will happen with the Topsy Lane Walmart, but we continue to monitor any developments.In addition, we continue to work with the Northern Nevada Development Authority to recruit new businesses to the area, including manufacturing, technology and energy related businesses. Home sales and prices are strong in the Valley and at the Lake. Sales are the highest since 2004 and prices have increased for the first time since 2006. Building permits are at their highest since 2008. So, we have some positive indicators to be optimistic for a continued recovery.Q: Can the county do anything to help address the number of traffic accidents at Airport Road? With other intersections along that stretch of 395 in the past, it seems to come down to an NDOT decision. Have there been any talks about a change in operation at Airport Road? Closing it down to left turns onto 395, for example.A: We continue to express concerns with NDOT regarding safety issues at Airport Road. Prior to the reconstruction of Highway 395, Douglas County requested changes to improve safety at that intersection, but those requested changes were not included in the project. NDOT has indicated that traffic warrants do not justify a traffic signal light at that intersection. We are currently working with NDOT to pursue a realignment and improvements to the right turn lane from Highway 395 north onto Airport Road, which has been identified as a major factor in vehicle accidents. The realignment of the right turn lane would require acquisition of additional right of way on private property, which Douglas County will likely take the lead on.To be clear, the issue with the right turn lane onto Airport Road is that vehicles turning right tend to obstruct the view of oncoming traffic from the south for vehicles turning left onto Highway 395.Q: Are there any plans to make a longer barrier at the turn lane at 395 and Riverview, this intersection has had many terrible crashes in the past?A: I’m not aware of any plans by NDOT to make adjustments at that location, but I will have our staff follow up with NDOT to inquire about the issue.Q: We see Town of Gardnerville is looking at the county’s consolidated tax resolution this week. Are the tax rates being set tax rates for the upcoming budget and, if so, is there anything you can tell us about them?A: The Douglas County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution in 2012 supporting the consolidated tax bill draft that was generated by the interim subcommittee to study the allocation of money distributed from the State to local governments. The Consolidated Tax (C-tax) includes sales tax, motor vehicle privlege tax, real property transfer tax, cigarette tax, and liquor tax that is collected at the state and allocated to local governments based on a formula mandated by State statute. The C-tax is approximately 26% of Douglas County’s General Fund revenue. The State will release preliminary revenue numbers, including C-tax, on February 15, 2013 for Fiscal Year 2013-14.The interim subcommittee that studied the C-tax recommended no change in the formula, which means there would like not be a major impact on that revenue if the State makes no changes.Q: At this week’s county commision meeting, there was discussion about why one governmental agency pays fees to another governmental agency? Can you help explain some of this?A: Many of the fees charged from one government entity to another are related to direct costs and specific services being provided by one agency to another. Each of these agencies have their own elected governing bodies and seperate purpose for collecting certain taxes and fees. So, for example, it would not be appropriate to ask the taxpayers in the Town of Gardnerville to subsidize a cost solely driven by the need of another agency. Therefore, all of the public agencies require that the cost of service be recovered for the taxpayers or ratepayers of the agency providing the service. It is a reasonable argument, however, to question the vast number of taxing entities that we have in Douglas County. The new public services and facilities element of the County’s Master Plan identifies approximately 38 seperate taxing districts in Douglas County. We are pursuing every effort to reduce duplication and share services, but in order to begin consolidating these districts there will need to be strong support from the public in these various taxing districts.Q: One last question to wrap up for the day: Can you tell us about the grant the Tahoe-Douglas firefighters recently received?A: I had the opportunity to speak with Tahoe Douglas Fire District (TDFD) Chief Ben Sharit about the grant recently. TDFD is excited about the great opportunity that the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant provides. TDFD currently has 15 open firefighter positions open compared to their staffing levels in 2007-08. TDFD has been able to avoid layoffs due to attrition and holding positions vacant. The $2.7 million grant from the federal Department of Homeland Security gives TDFD the aility to increase their service delivery to the residents of the fire district for the next two years.Any public officials interested in participating in a similar online forum can contact The Record-Courier at email@example.com or 782-5121, ext. 212.