Indian Hills may seek city charter | RecordCourier.com

Indian Hills may seek city charter

by Susie Vasquez

Indian Hills could take the first of many steps toward incorporation Tuesday, when board members debate a resolution to initiate the process.

If approved, the proposal would be introduced during the 2005 legislative session. The protracted process requires time, effort and demonstrations of financial viability to numerous state officials, according to Jim Bentley, general manager of the Indian Hills General Improvement District.

The Legislature must enact a bill and if passed, the bill will become law. Incorporation is subject to a vote of the residents within the proposed boundaries.

“That legislation will allow residents to vote on the charter city,” Bentley said. “Once ratified by the people, the city is chartered.”

Ratification could come as early as November of 2005 and the city would come into being July of 2007. The process would be completed in June of 2008 when the Improvement District is dissolved, Bentley said.

Increases in population and the attendant traffic have seriously impacted the people of Indian Hills, but because the area is not incorporated the people there have had little control, according to Jim Bentley, manager of the Indian Hills General Improvement District.

For example, plans for a $1.6 million East Fork fire station in the District’s North Sunridge residential development has stalled despite the taxes collected from Indian Hills residents.

A request for more deputies to serve Indian Hills in 1997 was refused by Douglas County officials, despite an Indian Hills offer to purchase the extra cruisers.

“That needs to change,” Bentley said.

Indian Hills trustee Art Baer said the District could make a lot more progress with a little more cooperation from Douglas County officials and Bentley agreed.

“We aren’t the bad guys,” Bentley said.

Douglas County officials have opposed incorporation, saying it would seriously impact tax revenues. At a recent commissioners meeting, Douglas County lobbyist Mary Walker likened incorporation to a money grab.

“Indian Hills incorporation would take tax revenues that could benefit everyone in the county,” she said. “What if Johnson Lane wanted to incorporate, taking with them the businesses there?

“It’s not in the public’s best interests when those tax dollars are for the entire county,” she said.

Jim Bentley said the feasibility study doesn’t include the redevelopment area west of 395, which includes Carson Valley Plaza. Douglas County’s general fund would not be affected, but incorporation could mean a loss of anticipated revenues for the county.

Based on a formula, sales taxes are collected by state taxation, then redistributed to tax-poor rural counties in Nevada.

Clark, Washoe and Carson City all export sales taxes and Douglas County is expected to follow suit in about 18 months, Bentley said.

Susie Vasquez can be reached at svasquez@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 213.