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Official advocates gas tax

by Christy Chalmers

Efforts to spread the word about Douglas County’s need for a nickel-per-gallon gas tax started this week.

Community Development Director Bob Nunes explained the county’s road maintenance policies Wednesday to a group of Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce members. His presentation was short and simple: Douglas County has more demands for road projects than money to pay for them. A 5-cent tax could provide about $1 million a year for use on those roads.

The Douglas County Commission decided in September to ask voters sometime in 2000 to approve the tax. Douglas once imposed the tax, but voters repealed it in 1994.

County leaders haven’t taken a formal stance on the tax, preferring instead to present facts, answer questions and let voters decide for themselves.

The chamber audience launched a few of the expected questions, such as why residents of Minden and Gardnerville and the Gardnerville Ranchos, who already pay assessments for roads in their areas, would support a tax that would be spent countywide.

Nunes noted the county maintains some roads that go through those areas, such as County Road in Minden, Mica Drive in Indian Hills and Kimmerling and Dresslerville roads in the Ranchos.

He also said the county has tracked gas prices in surrounding areas, and the extra nickel won’t necessarily translate to higher prices.

“If the price is the same between Carson Valley and Carson City, and they have an additional five-cent tax on their gas and they’re still making a living, where is the money going that goes here?” asked Nunes. “You’re paying it at the pump, but you’re not getting it in your road maintenance here.”

Organized opposition to the tax has not yet surfaced, but resistance is expected.