South County storm damage up to $7 million

Sandstone in Topaz Ranch Estates is a rough stretch of road.

Sandstone in Topaz Ranch Estates is a rough stretch of road.

Estimates on the damage to Topaz Ranch Estates have increased to $7.2-7.3 million, according to district board members.

Members of the general improvement district’s board asked Douglas County commissioners for help on Thursday, saying just the 25-percent match for potential Federal Emergency Management Administration funds could amount to more than 10 times the district’s annual tax revenue.

District Chairman Brandon Taylor said the $160,000 a year the district receives in tax revenue has to cover 27 miles of roads.

“Even fixing potholes is nearly impossible with that amount of money,” he said.

The Tonopah low and other storms from last winter hit the district, which was already having trouble keeping up with the roads.

“People helped,” Taylor said. “The community came together with shovels and equipment to help try to save the roads and people’s homes. I have video of water flowing through people’s houses. We would appreciate any help from the county.”

Taylor agreed that it didn’t appear as if the district was eligible for funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

He acknowledged that TRE residents weren’t the only ones affected by the storms, but he said it was likely the worst hit community in the county.

One of the key issues for Topaz Ranch Estates is that while its tax rate is the highest in Douglas County, it has one of the lowest tax bases.

Formed Sept. 7, 1971, the district has its own taxing authority and operates a water system and is responsible for roads within its boundaries. The five trustees are elected from within the boundaries. According to the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office the tax rate dedicated to the district is 85.46 cents per $100 assessed valuation.

District Treasurer Dave Akola said there was no way TRE could come up with even the 25 percent match.

New board member Mike Tanner asked for the county’s help.

“We do need some help because it’s a little bit of a war zone,” he said. “Please keep us in mind because we’re really in a little bit of trouble.”

Willoughby suggested that some of the FEMA match could be from the volunteer work people did during the storms to prevent more damage.

On Thursday, county commissioners delayed a decision on $719,000 in federal rescue funds after it was suggested that discussion of the strategic plan might result in some clearer direction.

Commission Chairman Mark Gardner and Commissioner Sharla Hales both expressed concerns about the county’s looming commitment to build Muller Lane Parkway, which is where some of the ARPA funding came from.

County Chief Financial Officer Terri Willougby is supposed to come back in December, when there might be a little bit more money from projects that haven’t gone forward, but warned that the funds have to be committed by December 2024.


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