Group calls for Washoe County assessor's job

INCLINE VILLAGE - The Village League to Save Incline Assets this week filed to have Washoe County Assessor Robert McGowan removed from office after more than 23 years in the post.

The league's efforts to reform property tax assessments over the last four years have won statewide attention and praise from proponents and been called "litigious nightmares" by foes.

The league's president, Incline resident Maryanne Ingemanson, said the group filed a complaint with Washoe courts claiming McGowan is guilty of malfeasance on several counts, including not complying with regulations of the Nevada Tax Commission and failure to use forms approved for reporting personal property.

"It's not a recall, it's a court action," said Ingemanson. "The (assessor's office has) gone totally awry and sideways. McGowan will not follow the new state rules and regulations."

McGowan stood by his reputation, record and adherence to state law.

"We've acted properly in this office," McGowan said. "I understand the pressures and I understand this group just wants to pay less taxes. If you want to be an assessor and can't take the heat, don't do the job.

"I get confused at times what they're after. Maybe they're just mad in general and want things changed. The law says land should be of market value and analysis shows our (office) is conservative on that matter. I always have to remind people that I don't get a commission."

McGowan noted that many of the league's concerns should have been mitigated by the passage in April of a bill capping the tax on a Nevada resident's primary residence at 3 percent, and 6.9 percent for a secondary home or commercial property in Washoe County.

Ingemanson explained that the 3 percent cap applies only to primary residences in Nevada. It also does not apply to most rental property or to businesses. Rental properties qualify for the cap only if rent charged meets federal guidelines, which Ingemanson said probably won't coincide with rents charged in Incline.

McGowan said the cap could be removed or "tweaked" during upcoming legislative sessions to address concerns, but stood by it as a solution for now.

"(The cap) could be fine-tuned, but I think it's a very fair solution," McGowan said. "Plus, it's not our office's job to determine what the state (Legislature) decides."


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