Ranchos board sets goals | RecordCourier.com

Ranchos board sets goals

by Merrie Leininger

The Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District board of trustees set goals, including developing an open space master plan, at Wednesday night’s meeting.

The open space master plan, however, is second on the list of priorities.

The board first will create its own by-laws that will help define the trustees’ roles, maintain operational efficiency, provide quality communication and improve the district’s ability to serve the residents.

After the master plan, the board wants to continue to work on better access to the district, which includes improving Tillman Lane and eventually taking it over from the county.

“If we sit down with the county, I know they want us to take it over eventually. We need to start negotiating with them so they are not wasting taxpayers’ money,” trustee Al Wagner said.

Wagner was referring to this year’s planned overlay of Tillman, which the district believes will not mend any drainage problems.

The final goal is to guide adjacent development of the district. The motion to adopt the goals in that order passed unanimously.

– Sewer conversion. Four years after the order came down from the Environmental Protection Agency, 11 holdouts in the Gardnerville Ranchos have yet to hook up to the sewer system and remain on septic tanks.

GID manager Bob Spellberg told the board that two of those 11 have bought the $2,200 permits to do the work, leaving nine people.

Many of those people may be able to get the work done, now that the state grant has been extended and, as of last night, the district’s loan application process was eased.

Board member Dewey Jay, who was home with his sick wife, listened to the discussion over speakerphone. He had suggested the district allow a district loan committee majority vote to accept a loan, rather than require a unanimous decision.

Spellberg said he agreed.

“We’re here for a specific purpose and that is to get these people off septic. We should be making it easier for them,” he said.

Ranchos resident and member of the loan committee Jimmie Fields said he would resign if the board did not change the number of votes required for the three-member committee.

“It’s not democratic if one person can control the whole board. I can’t see that’s for the good of this community. If you don’t trust two members, that’s wrong,” Fields said.

Board Chairperson Beverly Page made a motion to “get this out of our hair,” and allow a majority vote.

All board members, except Wagner, voted in favor of the motion.

Spellberg said he imagines about four other people will be able to get loans or state grants now and hook up to the sewer system.

The problem has been the cost. A $2,200 permit must be purchased from the district before work can start, and the construction costs between $1,700 and $2,200. If a lift station is needed, it can increase.

So far, eight people received the loan out of the 13 who applied, Spellberg said.

He said a total of $150,000 was available for loans through the district. The board made the loan available for those people who had been rejected by at least two lending institutions.

The state community development block grant was written by Spellberg and sponsored by Douglas County. Only $28,000 is left of the $148,000 originally given. The money can only be used for the construction costs, not the permit.

“Right now, the state has said, ‘That’s as much as you have left, we want you to use it all,’ so we can approve more. But they only have until June 1 to have projects complete,” Spellberg said. “Grant money is free money. Residents have to get two estimates, the contractor does the work and then sends the bill to the county so no money has to leave the owner’s hands.”

After June 1, the remaining residents will be referred to the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection, which will place a lien on their property, Spellberg said.

“By that time, the loan program and the grant program will be over, and it will have been four years, since January 1996, when we gave everyone 18 months. I think we will be down to six or seven by the end,” Spellberg said. That is out of 450 people who had to comply four years ago.

– Retired. Board member Victor Hyden announced his resignation from the board after 20 years of service. He has lived in the Ranchos for 30 years. He will leave June 2, so the process to replace him will begin immediately. Spellberg said letters of interest from any district resident can be sent to the district office at 931 Mitch Drive, Gardnerville, 89410. Board interviews will be held in May. The replacement will serve out the remainding 2-1/2 years of a 4-year term.

Hyden, 76, and his wife, Barbara, will be moving to San Diego to be closer to their son and grandchildren.

He was first elected to the board shortly after he moved to the Ranchos in September 1971.

Hyden ran for the state board of regents in 1974, but has never held another public office. He was a high school teacher and principal in Kansas before he taught radio and television journalism at the University of Kansas.

For 10 years he was a co-manager of an educational television station in Sacramento.