County eyes funds for flood repair
The Gardnerville Town Board voted to help Douglas County’s effort to lobby the state and federal government to accept responsibility for payment of repairs to damage occurred along the Carson River, but tabled a commitment to pay a share.
The unanimous decision came after a three-phase proposal was made to the board Feb. 13 by Dick Mirgon, county director of communications.
Mirgon said even though the county doesn’t have the money, it is committed to funding river repairs because of the possibility of subsequent flooding during spring runoff. The county is looking for ways to fund 25 percent of the cost so that the federal government will pick up the rest through the Emergency Watershed Protection program. Total damage is estimated at $10 million.
Mirgon said the county’s approach to solve the deficit includes:
n Asking the Legislature to pay the 25 percent share.
n If the state doesn’t pay, then trying to raise the money through in-kind contributions.
n Or, getting the money out of the pockets of local governments and property owners – sources yet to be identified.
The county asked the Gardnerville Town Board to support 5 percent of the total repair cost and no more than $50,000.
Money from local governments would be used on areas that would impact those entities, Mirgon added.
The Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District approved the proposed 5 percent funding Feb. 5.
Tom Cook, Gardnerville Town Board vice chairman, was opposed to the 5 percent funding and considered it double taxation.
He said, “The question arose that we, the people of the town have already paid (for the repairs) through the general fund of the county, and you are coming back and asking $50,000 more.
“This is where a lot of people are saying, ‘We’re going to get a double-dipper.'”
Mirgon answered – trying to unite the community – “Douglas’ responsibility is to provide for the safety of people of the county.
“If we don’t get participation from other government entities, then we can’t afford to. And in theory, you can take this one to be triple-dipping because federal money is going into it also.
“Let’s not get to the point of how many times you’re paying for it, because the fact of the matter is, you’re paying for the whole thing in one form or another.
“The reality is we have to stand together as a community and protect the people who live here and use whatever resources we have.”
To answer Cook’s question of who owns and is responsible for the sloughs around Gardnerville, Mirgon said he didn’t know.
Cook said, “If I knew I was responsible, I’d take that on my shoulders but don’t ask me to do something that I’m not responsible for.”
The county will approach the Minden Town Board about the 5 percent funding at 6 p.m. March 5 at the CVIC Hall in Minden.
The Gardnerville Town Board will have a special meeting to finalize priorities for the 1997-98 budget at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, at the town’s administrative office, 1369 Highway 395 North, Gardnerville.