Indian Hills seeks charter | RecordCourier.com

Indian Hills seeks charter

by Kurt Hildebrand

Indian Hills will ask the 2005 Legislature to approve a charter which could, with a favorable popular election, make it Douglas County’s first city.

As first reported on http://www.recordcourier.com, about 60 people packed into the chambers of the Indian Hills General Improvement District on Tuesday to hear information and share their opinions about becoming a city.

Members of the district board voted unanimously to ask the Legislature to approve a charter. Should lawmakers approve the charter, the issue would require a majority vote of residents.

Residents questioned the assertion that Indian Hills could become a city and that taxes would drop.

“I don’t see how taxes are going to go down,” said resident Ron Lynch. “I don’t see how incorporating into a city will make us better off.”

Long-time Carson Valley resident Garry Den Heyer said he would prefer not to have an additional layer of government.

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“More bureaucracy is a no-no,” he said. “If you can tell me how a city would be better, then I will vote yes.”

Reaction to the proposal from residents attending the meeting was mostly negative.

Most said they didn’t believe Indian Hills was ready to be a city. They questioned a study prepared by the district that says the plan is feasible.

Longtime resident Brian Patrick accused the improvement district of attempting to solve the district’s problems by becoming a city.

“I would love to see an independent committee formed,” Patrick said. “We need more time and more of a commitment from the people.”

Resident Keith Logan questioned the figures in the study relating to law enforcement.

He warned that if the district seeks a city and the numbers are off, then the entire community will look foolish.

“We need to wait until we get correct numbers to move forward,” he said. “If it takes a year or two longer then it will be a year or two better.”

Laura Lau, who is seeking one of the seats on the board, questioned the numbers in the feasibility study.

She said the personnel costs in the study did not account for overtime, vacation coverage, sick leave, training and vacancies.

Lau took issue with the claim that Indian Hills built a $1.6 million fire station.

“There was only 4-10 percent provided by the district,” she said. “The rest came from the whole rest of Douglas County.

Former board member Steve Weaver told board members he hasn’t made up his mind about incorporation yet.

Board member Chuck Swanson asked district manager Jim Bentley why there was a hurry to approve the charter and move on.

Bentley said that if there was a delay, it could be 2009 before a city was in place.

“If we wait 7-8 years then the point will be moot,” he said. “At that point it will all be built out.”

Swanson asked County Manager Dan Holler if incorporating would be the best thing for Indian Hills.

“If it is the best deal for Indian Hills and the rest of the county, then it makes sense for Indian Hills to be a city,” he said. “If it isn’t the best deal, then you shouldn’t do it.”

Board member Art Baer pointed out that nothing will happen until the voters decide it can.

“This vote doesn’t change a darn thing,” said board member Art Baer. “It still requires a vote of the people. We’re just getting it started.”

Board members approved a resolution seeking approval from the Legislature of a charter. Bentley pointed out the Legislature will look very closely at the district’s material before voting for a charter.

— Kurt Hildebrand can be reached at khildebrand@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 215.