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Disbursement of school funds outlined

Michael Schneider

On Tuesday, District Judge Dave Gamble issued a final ruling in a case between area contractors and Douglas County describing how money won in the case by the contractors should be disbursed.

In addition to refunding $1.537 million dollars, the county was ordered to pay $142,821.06 in interest as a result of litigation over the failed fair share cost.

The FSC was implemented in 1993 as a way for the county to charge for new residences which, the county said, would lead to the need for more schools.

The county charged developers a $2,400 fee for each unit in a development and put the money into an account to be used for improvements to existing schools and to build new schools.

The FSC was challenged by H&S Construction, Keuper Kustom Homes Inc. and the Douglas County Contractors Association.

In July 1995, Gamble found for the county, but the Nevada Supreme Court reversed the decision in December 1996.

The case was then sent back to Gamble to supervise the disbursement of the funds collected and to decide if and how much interest should be paid to the developers.

District Attorney Scott Doyle said the lawyers for all parties involved met and, in an informal meeting in open court, decided to whom the monies should be disbursed.

“The judge took all argument into account, then decided that the money should go to the contractors,” said Doyle, explaining that this suit involved contractually based relationships so the returned money must go to the entity that paid the fee.

“The home owner could be entitled to a secondary refund,” said Doyle. “But we had a contractual relationship with the contractors.”

Doyle said that despite the fact that the school board and county were supposed to pay equal shares of the settlement, it worked out that the county paid an extra $122 while the school board only had to pay $80 extra.

“(Superintendent) Pendery (Clark) could take you out to lunch,” Doyle said to the commissioners, adding that if the settlement wasn’t reached in a timely manner, then the county could have been liable for an extra $140,000.

On a more serious note, commission chairman Jacques Etchegoyhen said decisions like this one will eventually bring an end to growth in Nevada.

“If we can’t deal with this, then we can’t deal with health, safety and welfare,” said Etchegoyhen.