Douglas prepares for ’05 Legislature |

Douglas prepares for ’05 Legislature

by Susie Vasquez

With the legislative session looming, everything from tax caps to water rights are expected to surface as issues in 2005, said commissioner Kelly Kite.

“The Alpine Decree governs what we do with respect to water in Douglas County, but any time water is discussed, Douglas County is affected,” Kite said. “We’ll never give up the fight over water.”

Legislators will also consider Indian Hills cityhood during their upcoming session and the commissioners polled are united against the proposal.

Cityhood requires a vote by Indian Hills residents and once they get a good feel for the real numbers they will probably defeat the measure, commissioner Jacques Etchegoyhen said.

“When an accountant crunches the numbers objectively, I don’t think there’s any way cityhood will pencil without a significant tax increase,” he said. “Instinctively, the residents in Indian Hills know they can’t add a layer of government and have it cost less.”

“We really just got to the point where our population of about 48,000 can start to provide services on an economy of scale,” Baushke said. “Taking a portion of that tax base away from the rest of the county will create two tax bases. It will hurt everyone from Topaz to Tahoe and set Indian Hills back.”

Commissioner Kelly Kite also opposes cityhood.

“We will be at the Legislature to testify,” he said.

Tax initiatives, whether gas or utility, have been soundly defeated by Douglas County voters in the past and the budget could be one of the more contentious battles facing county officials in 2005, Baushke said.

“People in Douglas County don’t want to pay taxes and we won’t get any sympathy from the State,” he said. “We’re the wealthiest county in Nevada, yet this county’s residents pay the lowest taxes. In the State’s eyes, Douglas County residents don’t pay enough.”

Commissioners felt completion of Muller Parkway, a 6.3-mile bypass east of Gardnerville, could be a couple of years away but construction of a commercial area in North Douglas County should start this summer.

The property belongs to Carson City businessmen Dink Cryer and Michael Hohl, but could be sold to developer AIG Baker in the next few months.

“I think the deal will slide through with AIG,” Kite said. “If not with them, with someone else.”

The success of the commercial area east of Highway 395 just opposite the proposed development will serve as a catalyst to development on the west side, Kite said.

The 1,500-acre Clear Creek development in north Douglas County has been steeped in controversy and lawsuits since its approval by the Douglas County Board of Commissioners in late 2003.

Alpine View Estates residents filed a lawsuit and District Judge David Gamble concurred. The issue was remanded to the Supreme Court in separate appeals by Douglas County and Developer John Serpa.

In December, a special conference was organized to settle the issues.

Kite, who is representing Douglas County at that conference, said he has no idea which way the decision will go and Etchegoyhen agreed.

— Susie Vasquez can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 211.