Candidates participate in Tahoe forum |

Candidates participate in Tahoe forum

by Ryan Hoffman

For Republican voters weighing in on two Douglas County commissioner races, the issues of growth and general improvement districts could factor greatly in the upcoming primary election.

That is if the line of questioning at a candidate forum today is any indication of electoral priorities.

The four Republicans running for the two seats on the five-member Douglas County Board of Commissioners fielded questions, ranging from affordable housing to the proposed events center in Stateline, for more than an hour Wednesday.

Murphy, a Zephyr Cove resident who has served as administrator of the Tahoe Douglas District for the past 25 years, is running against Wesley Rice, a Round Hill General Improvement District trustee and deputy constable with the Douglas County Constable’s Office.

Incumbent District 2 Commissioner Steve Thaler and challenger John Engels — both Republicans and the only two candidates of any party running for the seat — also participated in Wednesday’s forum.

In addition to keeping her job with Tahoe Douglas District and running for county commissioner, Murphy is among five candidates running for three seats on the Round Hill GID — a race that will be decided in the November general election.

On the issue of affordable housing, Rice said the need is apparent.

“The housing market in Douglas County is getting to the point where the people that work here can’t afford to live here, so I believe we need affordable housing.”

Rice said he was not in favor of “section 8 housing” — a reference to the federal housing voucher program for low-income people.

Rather, Douglas County needs more homes that a recent college graduate working his or her first job could afford, Rice said.

The Stateline redevelopment area, a designation that raises money from increases in property tax revenue over time, was approved in February 2016 to construct an events center next to MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa.

With the challenges facing the gaming industry, the events center is critical for future revenue generation in Stateline, Rice said.

Murphy said she would want to look at all of the financing options.

“You have to look at every option,” she said. “The numbers have to work, but I don’t know what the numbers are,” she said.

She said her focus would be on infrastructure.

“We need to take care of our infrastructure first. We need to make our infrastructure strong and stable, rather than neglecting it, and that’s all infrastructure. … I don’t want to see urban sprawl.”

Nevada’s primary election is June 12. The state has a closed primary system, meaning voters must be registered with a primary party in order to vote in those races.