District review panel discussion delayed until June | RecordCourier.com

District review panel discussion delayed until June

A sign welcomes people to the Gardnerville Ranchos, which was founded in 1965. Governed by a general improvement district board, the Ranchos is Douglas County's largest community.
Kurt Hildebrand

Seating a panel to review Douglas County’s numerous districts was delayed until June by county commissioners on Thursday.

Managers from several districts waited through the county meeting, but the issue was continued after commissioners ran out of time.

Douglas County is home to 17 different districts formed under Nevada Revised Statutes 318, according to the Douglas County Clerk Treasurer’s Office.

All the districts were formed by county commissioners to supply services the county was unable or unwilling to provide.

One of the grand jury’s recommendations was to seat the panel to review the districts.

Approved by the Nevada Legislature last year, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed Senate Bill 462, which allows county commissioners to form committees to review improvement districts to determine if they’re performing their function.

The bill was sponsored by Douglas County Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, who will serve on the review committee, should county commissioners decide to form one.

At the time, Settelmeyer likened the committees to those the state uses to determine whether agencies are still performing their intended functions.

Some, like the Gardnerville Ranchos, Indian Hills and Kingsbury general improvement districts are essentially municipal governments running the county’s largest communities.

Both the Gardnerville Ranchos and Indian Hills have discussed forming cities. A change in state law drove the Ranchos debate in the late 1990s. Indian Hills had a bill before the Legislature to allow its residents to vote for cityhood.

Expansion of redevelopment area No.1 helped head off the Indian Hills movement.

Other districts, like the Tahoe Douglas fire protection or Minden Gardnerville Sanitation serve specific purposes.

During a hearing on the bill, Settelmeyer said districts would come to the committee with their budgets and minutes to justify their existence.

The committee would consist of the senator and assemblyman representing the community plus three others, including potentially an improvement district trustee.

Under the new law, commissioners would appoint three members of the committee, two of whom must be the senator and assemblyman representing the county. The senator and assemblyman each get to pick a member of the committee. Settelmeyer said those members could be trustees of different 318 districts.

Districts appearing before the committee would be required to present its name, the name of its trustees and staff, its web address, structure, budget and three years worth of income and expenses. The committee is required to issue a report to the Legislative Commission at the end of each year.