Redevelopment district dissolution a step closer
The two most popular questions about the dissolution of Douglas County Redevelopment Agency No. 1 were answered on Thursday.
Elimination of the agency, scheduled for July 1, won’t change zoning and it won’t increase taxes, according to Deputy District Attorney Zach Wadle.
But a third, larger, question seemed to be on the minds of residents speaking on the topic on Thursday.
“What’s a redevelopment agency?”
Wadle did his best to explain the issue at the meeting where county commissioners were meeting as the redevelopment agency board.
“Redevelopment funding is based on property tax increments,” he said. “The baseline is set when the area is formed and any new development or property development goes to redevelopment.”
Nevada bases its taxes on value of the property. The more property is worth, the larger the tax bill. Wadle said property in the redevelopment area doesn’t pay higher taxes. It’s just a portion of those taxes go to fund the agency.
Wadle said other taxing entities, such as the county, the East Fork swimming pool and fire districts, Indian Hills or the Town of Genoa do not receive that money.
“So long as the area is in place, the incremented property tax revenue does not go to those districts,” he said. “The tax rate has not changed. Redevelopment affects where tax money goes not what the rate is.”
The district was formed in 1997 and helped bring Target, Home Depot, Walmart and Best Buy to Douglas County.
It also helped pay to provide sewer down the west side of the Valley to serve the two Genoa Lakes golf course communities and Walley’s Hot Springs.
The agency was also responsible for the largest single non-disaster expenditure of money in Nevada’s oldest town.
When the Nevada Legislature was eyeing any source of income in the state to make up its budget, Douglas feared it would sweep up the $2 million in the agency’s fund.
Instead of allowing that to happen, the county decided to fund an improvement project in the town that included downtown improvements and the Genoa Vista Trail to Walley’s.
“Redevelopment formation and dissolution is a very complicated procedure,” Commission Chairman Steve Thaler said.
Even after the redevelopment area is dissolved, there will be $3 million in its budget that would have to be spent in the area.
Several projects have been proposed for that money, including work on Genoa’s historic buildings and the extension of Vista Grande north to Topsy Lane.
One issue that may drain some of that cash is the expansion of the North Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Commissioners have already devoted $2.7 million in redevelopment to the effort, but ended up rejecting all bids for the plant after there was a dispute between the top bidders.
That bid could come in lower than before, Commissioner Barry Penzel said, admitting he was being optimistic.
If the bids come in higher the county may be looking to the redevelopment money to make up the difference.
Genoa Town Manager Phil Ritger pointed out that the town receives roughly $50,000 in property and sales tax money a year.
The vast majority of its budget is raised by the annual Candy Dance craft festival.
He said he wasn’t arguing in favor of keeping the redevelopment agency, but he bristled at the notion that the redevelopment agency provided the town with a slush fund.
While elimination of the redevelopment agency won’t affect the tax rates property owners living under it pay, it could have an unintended effect.
Genoa Lakes is located within the boundaries of the redevelopment area, which was one of the reasons cited for not annexing that area into the town.
Carson Valley and Clear Creek plazas are also in the area, which makes their annexation into the Indian Hills General Improvement District unfeasible.
While both communities have explored annexing those areas in the past, there currently isn’t any proposal to include them.
In Nevada all redevelopment district sunset after 30 years. Douglas County Redevelopment District No. 1 is 20 years old.
“It had a good purpose when it was formed,” said Foothill resident Jim Slade. “It served its purpose, and it has now outlived its purpose.”
Commissioners sitting as the redevelopment board recommended dissolving the board. They must hold two more meetings where they vote for dissolution.