Indian Hills city runs out of gas | RecordCourier.com

Indian Hills city runs out of gas

by Susie Vasquez

Indian Hills cityhood efforts will die with Assembly Bill 394, a proposal that would allow incorporation and give the people of Indian Hills the right to vote on the issue.

The bill, which was being reviewed by the Government Affairs Committee, had not been rescheduled for another hearing Thursday and there was little hope it would be out of committee by Friday’s deadline, according to Indian Hills General Manager Jim Bentley.

“Killing that legislation means people won’t get to vote on the question of cityhood,” Bentley said. “If that’s the reality, Indian Hills could remain as it is.

“We took our best shot and it didn’t work. Now the question is, what are our options?” Bentley said.

There is dissent among officials of the Indian Hills General Improvement District. Board member Brian Nelson called the bill’s demise a victory for the people of Indian Hills.

“I think it would have been a financial disaster,” he said. “It wasn’t viable from the start and shouldn’t have been pursued.”

The county could take control of the district or the Indian Hills board could decide to give the district back to the county, Bentley said.

Those options will be discussed at a special planning workshop, scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m.

Nelson said he doesn’t think the district will be dissolved.

“I’ve heard that rumor, but it’s no easier to do that than create a city,” he said. “A lot of money has been wasted on the cityhood issue. We need to redirect our efforts to what they should have been from the start.”

The District builds and maintains infrastructure, like water and sewer services, roads and parks.

“The District has provided about $30 million worth of infrastructure to Douglas County since its inception,” Bentley said.

“There’s a lot riding on what just happened,” he said. “Indian Hills won’t be a city and the lawsuit leaves redevelopment in place. That allows Douglas County to do what it wants with respect to redevelopment.”

Bentley was referring to the legal action Indian Hills officials filed to stop Douglas County’s efforts to expand redevelopment.

In early February, Douglas County Commissioners added 610 acres to Douglas County’s existing redevelopment area, paving the way for a new commercial district in north Douglas County.

Once a redevelopment district is defined, any increases in property taxes over and above the existing levels will be used to finance improvements in that area. If cityhood efforts had continued, the measure would have tied up revenues that could have otherwise gone to the new city.

The proposed commercial area lies just east of Highway 395 in north Douglas County.

In other business:

• The District’s one-year and five-year planning objectives for capital improvements and other issues will be discussed.

• Concerns over legal and other fees incurred during the district’s bid for cityhood will be discussed.

Indian Hills officials paid $32,300 for legal research, another $28,750 in their attempt to thwart expansion of the redevelopment district in north Douglas County and consultant fees, which cost $9,100, Bentley said.

This and other issues were requested by Indian Hills board member Laura Lau, who could not be reached for comment before press time.

— Susie Vasquez can be reached at svasquez@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 211.

What: Indian Hills General Improvement District Board meeting

When: 7 p.m. Monday

Where: District Board Room, 3394 James Lee Park Drive

BREAKOUT

No action was taken on SB 144, a bill introduced by Senator Mark Amodei to continue existence and authority of Douglas County Redevelopment Agency and East Fork Fire Protection District following incorporation of city within Douglas County.