Valley senior center ballot wording OK'd

Douglas County Commissioners approved a draft of an advisory ballot question to establish funding for a community center complex in Carson Valley.

Estimated to cost $27 million to $30 million, the county wants to raise funds through a utility operator fee. The facility would include a senior center, a recreation center, and a cultural and performing arts center

While an overwhelming majority of the public in attendance expressed support, several Lake Tahoe residents expressed concern over the priority of the project.

While the senior center and recreation center would take first and second priority in the funding, the ballot question calls for a senior center/library at Kahle Park at Lake Tahoe as the third priority.

A 3 percent increase on the utility operator fee, levied on electric, gas and other utility bills, would be implemented in three 1 percent stages over the course of five years. After the bulk of the construction has been funded, the fee would be cut by 1 to 2 percent, leaving enough to fund annual operating expenses.

Zephyr Cove resident Pam Lusby, a member of the county Parks and Recreation board, said lake residents want to see the initial five-year plan carried out for Kahle Park, which included an indoor aquatic center.

"I have great concerns over the wording," Lusby said. "There is nothing about a senior center or a library in the five-year plan, but a pool has been discussed for years. We want to see Kahle Park finished."

The parks and recreation board created another draft of the question, replacing the library/senior center portion with an unidentified project at Lake Tahoe.

"I will not vote on something that is not straight-forward," said Commissioner Kelly Kite. "I'm not going to support a ballot question without identifying the projects we are going to do with this fund-raising source.

"If we can't be honest and trust our voters, then we've got the wrong system."

Commissioner Tim Smith, who represents the Lake district, agreed.

"I'm afraid if we don't stay with the language that has been proposed, we are going to get nothing," Smith said. "I don't want to do something that is going to kill the whole thing."

Commissioner Bernie Curtis said the inclusion of the pool on the utility operator fee question could spell certain defeat.

"The fact is, we voted to create a swimming pool district down here, and at the time, the lake did not," Curtis said. "(If) we put a pool on this question, it won't pass down here."

Commissioners voted to explore finding a separate funding source for the pool project at the lake at a future meeting.

Contact Joey Crandall at or 782-5121, ext. 212.


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