Fire district sets sights on redevelopment agency
January 6, 2017
One of the first acts of a new East Fork Fire District Board was to seek talks to dissolve the county's north valley redevelopment district.
On Wednesday, board members approved seeking negotiations with the county and other agencies to reduce the longevity of the north county redevelopment agency.
In a report to the board, Fire Chief Tod Carlini pointed out that the fire district received $525,000 in redevelopment money for the Sunridge Fire Station, but only $325,000 was necessary for the station's improvement.
The rest went to improve the road that also serves Sierra Lutheran High School and Hill Top Community Church.
He said the fire district has contributed $3.279 million to the redevelopment agency since it was founded, based on the property tax value there now.
"In comparison, the Town of Genoa received over $2.6 million in funding for various town improvements, yet their contribution based on current year calculations is less than half a percent," he said.
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Carlini argues that the original intent of the redevelopment district was sound, but that it is no longer effective.
Board member Jacques Etchegoyhen, who was on the county commission that approved the agency in the late 1990s, said it was time to re-evaluate the agency's usefulness.
"I think any government, any good government, needs to always be willing to look in the mirror and look at the data, look at the facts and the financials and reevaluate the situation, Etchegoyhen said. "I have no problem looking in the mirror and saying, its time has come and its time has gone."
The purpose of creating the district in the first place, to draw sales tax revenues to Douglas County, has been offset by state subsidies.
Over the next dozen years of the redevelopment agency's life it could cost the fire district a minimum of $4.5 million and as much as $5 million.
Carlini said that both the county and Douglas County School District revenues are also affected by the redevelopment agency.
Former county commissioner Bernie Curtis was elected the fire board's first chairman. Former Clerk-Treasurer Barbara Griffin was named the first secretary.
Both Curtis and Griffin drew low cards, so their seats will be the first two up for election in 2018.