Last week, the Topaz Ranch Estates General Improvement District board voted 3-1 to ask county commissioners to become ex officio members.
We think that a lot of people are still sorting out the implications of that, but a good start would be to define “ex officio.”
According to NRS 318.515, which was cited in the agenda item approved on Sept. 9, a district that isn’t being properly managed or is not complying with the law upon notification by the Department of Taxation or a petition signed by 20 percent of the district can seek a hearing from county commissioners.
That hearing could result in adopting an ordinance constituting commissioners as essentially members of the board.
There are other things that can happen at a hearing, though any action proposed by commissioners would have to be properly agendized ahead of time.
From our reading through the agendas of the district board, this may well be an attempt to dig the district out of the $7.3 million road maintenance hole it was in after last winter’s storms.
The district, whose tax base is one of the lowest in the county, only has around $200,000 a year to maintain its roads. That’s not near enough to even fund the 25-percent match to recover from the mess it finds itself in. Residents that contributed to the effort when the storms were at their worst can have that work counted toward the match, but that’s a lot of work to track and the district hasn’t had the staff to compile the material.
We recognize the struggle faced by the residents of the district over the past nine months, and we know no solution is going to satisfy everyone.
It’s our sincere hope that whatever the action taken in response to the district’s request, it takes into account the more than 1,600 people, who are also Douglas County residents.