County OKs $12.2 million road bond |

County OKs $12.2 million road bond

Weeds are growing in the cracks of Jacks Valley Road.
Kurt Hildebrand |

Bonds to rebuild five regional roads in Carson Valley were approved by Douglas County commissioners, 4-1 vote on Thursday.

Up for reconstruction are Jacks Valley Road, Centerville Lane, Dresslerville Lane, Johnson Lane and Waterloo Lane.

While saying he had no doubt that the case had been made that the roads are in need of repair, commissioner Barry Penzel questioned the need to approve the $12.2 million in bonds at Thursday’s meeting.

Gardnerville resident David Maxwell presented an alternative that would pay for the improvements from the 9 cents in gas taxes over six years and save the county the interest on the bonds.

“We would receive $10 million and it will cost us $15 million,” he said of the interest. “We could pay off all the roads on this list in six years.”

Jobs Peak resident Tom Starrett took issue with the passage of the bond issue as if an emergency existed.

“No hint of an emergency has been articulated,” he said. “The failure of this board to maintain our roads does not create an emergency.”

Bond counsel replied that state law permits the approval of a bond with a supermajority of the board due to the volatile nature of the bond market.

Foothill resident Carlo Luri encouraged the board to approve the bonds.

“These roads need to be repaired, and they need to be repaired sooner than later,” he said. “These collector roads are not safe for pedestrians or bicyclists.”

Gardnerville Ranchos resident Terry Faff pointed out that no matter what commissioners did, they would come up for criticism.

“We can’t keep kicking this can down the road,” he said. “We need to get these roads fixed.”

Faff said the increase in labor and material costs over the time it takes to save enough money to rebuild the roads could eat at any savings on interest the county saw.

County road engineer Jon Erb said that the longer the county waited, the larger likelihood that oil costs will increase, and with it the price of asphalt.

“This does address our backlog,” Erb said. “By doing these five roads up front, we will have money to do other pay-as-you-go projects and we can take the poor roads and move them into a good category.”