DCBIA will fund impact study on growth initiative | RecordCourier.com

DCBIA will fund impact study on growth initiative

by Scott Murphy, Staff Writer

Citing limited funding, the Sustainable Growth Initiative committee has declined an offer to work with Douglas County builders and participate in an economic impact study of the proposed growth cap.

Builders contend the study will show the “devastating” impacts of possible voter approval in November of the Sustainable Growth Initiative.

The Douglas County Building Industry Association will pay for the study by itself, said its Executive Director Carole Thompson.

Thompson’s request to have growth cap proponents help fund an economic impact study was rebuffed.

Sustainable Growth Initiative Co-Chairman John Garvin said his group has a limited budget.

“We don’t have the big dollars that you’re going to see coming forth by the developers and vested interests in continued, uncontrolled growth,” Garvin said. “They have the money. We don’t.”

The Sustainable Growth Initiative would limit residential construction in Carson Valley to 280 dwelling units per year. The initiative now faces a legal challenge by developer Nevada Northwest, LLC, which filed suit last week to remove the initiative from the Nov. 5 ballot.

Garvin said other studies were done previously detailing probable results of what growth cap supporters view as too much growth in Carson Valley.

Although the SGI committee won’t participate in the study, Garvin said other surveys show growth is often paid for by taxpayers.

“We have studies that show growth, in and of itself, is subsidized by taxpayers,” he said. “For every dollar of tax revenue, (generated by growth) the cost of servicing it (to taxpayers) according to various studies, is between $1.08 to $1.30,” Garvin said.

“We know that unless we put some kind of control on new growth, we’re going to get higher taxes,” Garvin said.

Higher taxes were termed a likely result of growth during a July 17 speech by Master Plan Preservation Committee Chairman Barry Penzel. Penzel is also fighting the growth cap initiative.

Thompson, who wants voters to reject the Sustainable Growth Initiative, fears the limiting growth will cost taxpayers and wreck Douglas County’s economy.

Thompson said she wants to analyze the affect the initiative would have on property taxes. The study will also contain an overview providing specific information.

The study will soon be sent to local contractors and other businesses to determine the affect building has on Carson Valley’s economy.

Thompson’s goal is to have a document ready by the end of September outlining the likely impacts of the Sustainable Growth Initiative.

Thompson wants to show voters the initiative’s likely affect on small businesses and the construction industry.

Thompson said she’ll work with University of Nevada, Reno faculty members, the state’s Commission on Economics and will use statistics from Douglas County.

Thompson said she wants to continue researching Douglas County economics after the election season.

“If we had the backup information to put out at the very onset of what we’re dealing with right now, then I would have been able to say this is the impact they have asked to incur,” Thompson said.

“Without the information, I have zilch,” to tell voters, Thompson said. “I have to get on to the reality check of what’s happening. The impact overall will be devastating.”

n Staff Writer Scott Murphy can be reached via e-mail at murph@swiftnews.com