Topaz Ranch Estates district seeks county help

Water was continuing to flow along Ballman Way on Aug. 9. The road is just one of many in Topaz Ranch Estates that have been torn up this winter.

Water was continuing to flow along Ballman Way on Aug. 9. The road is just one of many in Topaz Ranch Estates that have been torn up this winter.
John Flaherty | Special to The R-C

Last week, the Topaz Ranch Estates General Improvement District trustees voted 3-1 to ask county commissioners to become ex officio members of the board.

On Monday, Douglas County Commission Chairman Mark Gardner said he was at the meeting, and that the issue could come before the board at some point.

“When asked about my feelings regarding the proposed motion, I stated that …  the open meeting law prohibits me from stating a position prior to the full board hearing the request,” Gardner said. “It’s also my understanding that this action also requires notice to the Nevada Department of Taxation.”

Gardner said that to his knowledge, the action has been forwarded to both County Manager Jenifer Davidson and Chief Civil Deputy District Attorney Doug Ritchie for possible inclusion in a future commissioners meeting.

Gardner said the motion was sought by acting chairman Dave Akola. The Record-Courier has reached out to Akola regarding the action.

Chairman Brandon Taylor resigned from the board before the August meeting.

“The district has not timely submitted the required annual audit and other reports to the State of Nevada and the reasons the district’s board of trustees believes it is in the best interest of the residents of the district that commissioners become the ex officio board of trustees,” according to the agenda.

The district has been overwhelmed by an estimated $7.3 million in damage to its roads over the winter.

In July, Taylor told county commissioners that the district has $160,000 a year to cover maintenance of its 27 miles of roads.

Just a 25-percent match for potential Federal Emergency Management Administration funds could amount to more than 10 times the district’s annual tax revenue.

Last winter’s Tonopah low hit the district, which was already having trouble keeping up with maintenance, particularly hard.

Residents helped and over the last few months, the district has been trying to document those efforts to provide an in-kind match.

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 its boundaries. According to the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office the tax rate dedicated to the district is 85.46 cents per $100 assessed valuation.


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