Roadwork, business and taxes topics of this month’s Q&A
December 6, 2013
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 Dec. 10 at 10:30 a.m. For a full transcript of the last forum, go online at recordcourier.com and search "County Manager Q&A: Nov. 13."
We're hearing that the East Fork Hotel will be torn down. Can you confirm this and what will take its place?
The owners of the building contacted our Community Development Department recently inquiring about the requirements for a demolition permit. The owners have not submitted an application to demolish the building, but we understandt that they are currently salvaging reusable materials from the building. Once they have an approved demolition permit from the county, the structure can be removed. We are not aware of the future plans for the site at this time.
What may be going in place of Scolari's? And on same note, what's happening with the other empty spaces in that center?
We have heard speculation about what may occupy Scolari's space, but we have no confirmation of facts. We are also not aware of future occupancy of other surrounding vacant space in that commercial center.
I noticed new erosion control fencing around Riverwood. Anything happening here?
The prior erosion control fencing was not functioning per the developers storm water permit requirement. Douglas County requested that the developer comply with their current permit and replace the fencing. We have had no inquiries or requests for development at the site.
What is the status of the community center construction; particularly, when will it be ready for use?
The new community and senior center construction project is now 30 percent complete. The footings, foundation and slab are 100 percent complete. The exterior and interior masonry walls are 80% complete. Underground utilities are 95 percent complete. We are preparing to install the roof structure over the next month. We are on schedule and on budget, with a planned public opening of the new facility in the spring 2015. Anyone interesting in viewing the live construction webcam and participating in furnishing the new building should go to the Community Center Foundation website at http://www.dccsf.com.
What new specific steps does the county intend or plan to take over the next year to reduce or ameliorate the county-imposed tax burden on its residents
There are 17 counties in the State of Nevada. Douglas County has the 8th lowest overlapping property tax rate, the 6th lowest sales tax rate, a lower utility operator fee and gas tax than our surrounding counties in the region, no business license fee and no storm water fee. Given our low tax burden, the challenge that faces our community is how to adequately maintain our existing infrastructure and services with current revenues. It is important to understand that the County has eliminated nearly 70 positions and employees have take significant pay cuts and benefit cost increases. The Board of Commissioners has worked hard to implement priority based budgeting to allow us to shift existing revenues to areas of high priority, such as roads, without increasing taxes. Ultimately, pursuing a reduction in our low tax structure would require additional reductions to public services.
Does the county have any concerns over the ongoing effort by Clear Creek residents to block Clear Creek Drive, limiting access to a county approved development?
The Clear Creek development has primary access from highway 50 and emergency access from Jacks Valley. Old Clear Creek Road was never anticipated to be a primary or emergency access to the development.
The addition of Maverick is a huge improvement in the area, Can you tell us what the county is doing to court other successfull businesses?
Douglas County officials understand that government doesn't create jobs, but we do have an important role in creating an environment where businesses and jobs flourish. We are actively working with our partners in the region, including the Northern Nevada Development Authority, Valley and Lake chambers of commerce and visitors authorities, Business Council, and others to implement our economic vitality plan throughout Douglas County. Our focus is on building infrastructure to attract and support new businesses, invest in education and workforce development, create vibrant main streets, and maintain our agricultural heritage. We have experienced positive business activity over the past couple years, with numerous small to mid size companies moving here and adding important new jobs and services. We will continue to pursue this positive course.
Can you provide an update on scheduled improvements for Buckeye Road?
We have identified recycling and repaving Buckeye Road from Heybourneto Orchard Road, which is identified as the worst stretch of that road, within our five year road maintenance capital plan. We anticipate that this project will cost approximately $1.2 million. Prior to the current budget year, this project would have been cost prohibitive, but since the Board approved shifting over $1 million in existing property tax revenue for preventative road maintenance, we are able to pursue this signficant road improvement work.
Any public officials interested in participating in a similar online forum can contact The Record-Courier at firstname.lastname@example.org or 782-5121, ext. 215.