VHR Ban won’t be free
The proponents of the so-called “VHR Ban” initiative in Douglas County have submitted the signatures gathered over the past few months. The signatures will be reviewed by the office of Douglas County Clerk-Treasurer Amy Burgans to verify if they are those of registered voters within the county as required by Nevada state law.
We remain concerned that at least some of these signatures were gathered based on false or outright misleading information. For example, the petition’s “Description of Effect” required on each signature page states, “it is estimated that eliminating vacation home rentals in residentially zoned areas in Douglas County, Nevada would result in an approximate net cost of $0 to the Douglas County taxpayers, annually.”
This statement is false. During their Oct. 19, 2023, meeting, Douglas County commissioners formally determined the direct cost to taxpayers, should the initiative pass, would be $2.1 million, annually. This amount includes $811,865 in VHR permitting fees and $1,294,678 in TOT revenues. Permitting fee revenue supports the County’s VHR enforcement program, but it seems the proponents don’t care that any remaining enforcement program would have to come from one or more other County funding sources.
More broadly, the total amount of TOT and lodging surcharge revenue lost could total some $5 million, based on the VHR and surcharge revenues generated in fiscal year 2022-23. Services and facilities provided by the Parks and Recreation Department could lose over $1 million. This information is also based on the County staff report prepared for the Oct. 19, 2023, County Commission meeting.
A recent survey of VHR users in Douglas County confirmed the overwhelming majority won’t stay in hotels. They prefer to cook their own meals and stay together with family and friends in one dwelling unit. This is not possible at a hotel. If VHRs are no longer allowed in the Tahoe Township (only one VHR rental in the Township would remain under the initiative), they will find the accommodations they desire elsewhere. Sales tax and related revenues will also decline, dealing another blow to County revenues. Will the County then need to assess higher taxes on its residents? That answer could potentially be yes.
Given the above facts, if you signed the petition and feel you were misled, you can formally withdraw permission to use your signature. Here’s how: Complete the form entitled, “Request to Remove Name from Petition” on the County Clerk-Treasurer’s website: cltr.douglascountynv.gov/clerk under Elections then under Petitions. You can deliver your signed request to the Clerk’s office on the 2nd floor of the Historic County Courthouse, 1616 Eighth Street, in Minden, or at the Stateline General Services office at 175 U.S. Highway 50. Or you can fax your signed request to the Clerk’s office at 775-782-9016. Or simply visit either Clerk’s office and request the form to complete. To ensure timely submittal, we recommend doing so as soon as possible, no later than Jan. 26.
Caucus is antiquated
I was also very confused. I was told by the Republican office that you have to Caucus for the presidential nominee. You can vote on the ballot, but it doesn’t count. They don’t use the ballot results in the caucus mix of candidates. They only use the caucus candidates to pick the primary presidential candidate.
Hence, the ballot is a waste of everybody’s time and tax dollar money under the GOP Caucus system. The worst part about the caucus system is that all people cannot caucus, you can imagine a multitude of reasons why, and the worst of that truth is the many military folks who can not caucus.
We all deserve to have access to voting. Caucusing is antiquated and unfair. Desperate for change.
Call me mom
I would like to clarify some misconceptions.
First, there is a difference between a credit and a refund. A refund is cash back while a credit is a reduction of future payments. Joey Gilbert gave Douglas County School District a credit on October’s invoice which reduced the bill from $53,368.16 to $20,038.99. The credit was due to a reduction in his executive’s fee (who is not an attorney) from $325 to $225 per hour, incorrect retainer billing and travel costs. For the record, legal fees have cost the taxpayers $210,162.06 to date.
Second, I would like to clear up the misconception that holding the School Board accountable is a bad thing. Upon Mr. Muzzy’s advice, I looked through the last couple years of Nevada open meeting law opinions. Along with an interesting opinion on denying public records request for legal invoices, I found open meeting law complaints filed by Mr. Muzzy and other vocal supporters of the board majority against various government bodies. Couple that with the news that the financial backer of the three newest board members filed a public records request that will take up significant district personnel time and incur high legal fees, it is disingenuous to vilify others for doing the same thing. It is our duty as taxpayers to hold government accountable.
Last, there has been a push to label those who oppose the direction of the School Board as a small minority of sore losers. I have been called a Marxist and a paid activist. But my favorite people call me Mom.
Thanks for a nice letter
Thank you Danna Meyer for the very nice letter regarding the New Year’s Eve labyrinth walk at Heritage Park Gardens.
On behalf of the group of volunteers at Heritage Park Gardens we are so very grateful to you and our wonderful community for the support you all show us throughout the year. See you at the gardens.