Center never on ballot by itself

People continue to claim county commissioners approved a measure defeated by voters when they approved a means of funding a new senior center. We could understand the outrage if that were true, but it is not.

Question 1 called for a 3 percent utility tax on gas, electrical and telephone to raise up to $30 million to build a senior citizen center, community recreation center and cultural performing arts center in Carson Valley and a senior citizen center and library at Lake Tahoe.

As far as cost went, the senior center was just the tip of the iceberg in Question 1. In the measure approved by a majority of county commissioners on Jan. 5, the senior center was the whole enchilada. That measure calls for a 1.5 percent increase to raise the money needed to build a new senior center.

People argue that the defeat of advisory Question 1 in September 2004 means the county can never charge any utility fee for anything ever. Since the issue was decided by fewer than 3,200 voters in a primary election that saw a 46 percent turnout, that argument may not carry the same weight as if the same issue was defeated during the general election, with a record turnout of 23,953.

The Nevada Legislature authorized counties to charge up to 5 percent in utility taxes a decade ago. The state puts local leaders in charge of the decision of when to implement the tax.

Commissioners have made that decision and will have to make it one more time for the tax to be implemented. We believe they've done the right thing for Douglas County's future and the future of the county's burgeoning older population.


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