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Minden tax rate to go up

by Sheila Gardner

Property taxes in Minden are scheduled to go up 11 cents per $100 assessed valuation to fund road improvements.

Minden Town Board members authorized the increase Wednesday as part of the town’s 1998 tentative budget. Final action on the budget will be taken at the board’s April 1 meeting. The hike would go into effect July 1.

“If you took a $140,000 to $150,000 home, the assessed valuation is $50,000,” said Town Board Member Bob Hadfield. “By raising the property tax 11 cents per $100, you’ll cost the taxpayer $55 more a year.”

The town hopes that the increase spread among Minden’s 3,000 residents will raise $100,000 annually to pay for road repairs and maintenance.

“There is at least $600,000 worth of work that could be done right now,” said Hadfield. “It’s clear to me if we’re going to maintain the roads in all parts of Minden, we need to at a minimum have that kind of dedicated revenue in addition to what we’re spending already.”

Hadfield said many of the town’s roads have not been redone for at least 20 years.

“We’re going to have to begin reconstructing major sections of roadway,” he said. “It’s more prudent to do that now in an orderly fashion. We need to dedicate money systematically to take care of the problems instead of waiting until the problems are so bad that we have to bond for it.”

The four board members who approved the increase Wednesday said while they disliked tax hikes, they felt future road concerns warranted the decision. Board member Ray Wilson was absent.

“One thing that keeps us special is that we serve the needs of the people in the most cost-effective way possible,” said town board member Ross Chichester.

“We have four gas stations in Minden, but we get no money from the gas tax for roads. It all goes to the county,” said Chichester.

“I hate to see the tax go up. But one of the reasons people chose to live here is because we have good roads. I also think if you don’t take the opportunity to do this when the opportunity arises, another entity could come in and grab a portion of the tax rate,” Chichester said.

The board already set aside nearly $200,000 for street maintenance in the 1998-99 fiscal budget. The projects include irrigation ditch crossings at County Road, Pinewood Drive repair and overlay, repairs in the older part of town and Mahogany Drive repair and overlay.

“We’ve always been ahead of the game,” said town board member Bruce Jacobsen. “The board has a great deal of credibility.

“There is no funding source for roads other than shifting money around. I feel very strongly that if we fail to take this action, we condemn future boards to take money from the general fund, from trash and water in order to ensure that the streets are properly maintained,” Hadfield said.

Parameters for the tax hike are set by the State Tax Commission, which allows the governing body to set the rate.

Hadfield said he hopes residents will attend the April 1 meeting.

“I hope residents will take the time to understand the magnitude of the problem the town faces and the concerns of the board to put a program in place that will not place future residents and town boards in an untenable position where they simply cannot address the problem.”

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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