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Fire district lowers tax rate

by Sheila Gardner

Property owners in the Carson Valley will get a pleasant surprise with their tax bills this next fiscal year. The East Fork Fire District lowered its tax rate by two cents.

That means the owner of a $150,000 house will realize a savings of approximately $10.

The reason for the deduction is that the district’s assessed valuation increased enough to lower the tax rate without any harm to services.

“We’re able to meet all capital needs, needs of office staff and still maintain a good insurance rating,” said County Manager Dan Holler.

Commissioners approved a $67.8 million Douglas County budget Monday which does not include budgets for the towns and general improvement districts.

Addition of those entities’ budgets will push the total to $80 million, Holler said.

The board also agreed to increase the allocation to the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program. Originally, commissioners agreed to fund $4,000 of a $20,000 request. After a presentation by RSVP Executive Director Janice Ayres and a recommendation by Holler, the funding was increased to $10,000.

Ayres estimated that 321 Douglas County volunteers worked nearly 42,000 hours in 1998 at 34 locations.

Senior volunteers worked in county offices for 50 percent of the time, historical society and museums for 25 percent of the hours and in health facilities or schools for the other 25 percent.

She told the board it costs RSVP $375 per year to cover insurance, mileage and other expenses for each volunteer, adding up to $120,375 to place 321 volunteers in Douglas County. The volunteers are not paid.

“We offer a wide array of programs which allow seniors to stay active in their community. It’s nationally recognized and the seniors feel good about what they do,” Ayres said.

Because of the senior volunteers’ assistance, Ayres said 20 Douglas County residents were able to stay at home last year rather than be admitted to nursing facilities.

“The governor estimates it costs $80,000 per year to keep a person in a nursing facility,” she said.