Roads, light and water on tap for county manager
Douglas County Manager Steve Mokrohisky participates in a monthly question and answer forum online on The Record-Courier’s daily Running Commentary. Anyone with questions is welcome to participate in the next scheduled forum in January.
Q: When will the streetlights on Jacks Valley Road back to Vista Grande be fixed?
A: The streetlights are owned and operated by NV Energy. We are aware that the streetlights are out and Public Works staff has notified NV Energy and is working to get the lights operational. We will work aggressively with NV Energy to get the lights fixed.
Q: Before Walmart was built Pinenut road was totally restructured. My belief was that it was to make a connecting road into Walmart. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the road stopped short of the Walmart parking lot and that if you want to go south (or in my case East to fish springs) I have to go out on to the highway and the turn left on Pinenut road. At times this can be quite busy and dangerous. Are there any plans to finish the short stretch of road connecting Walmart to Pinenut road?
A: The completion of Muller Parkway from the roundabout north that crosses the Virginia ditch has been designed. The project is currently out to bid and we anticipate awarding the construction contract at the board’s Jan. 6 meeting. We are planning to complete construction of that section of road and bridge in 2014.
Q: Considering the county’s recent takeover of the Sierra Country Estates water system and Clear Creek’s request for concessions in the construction of their improvements, will the county be reviewing its requirements for water systems built as part of development projects?
A: First, it is anticipated that the costs to improve, operate and maintain the water system that serves Sierra Country Estates will be borne by the residents of that residential development. To date, there has not been expressed concern about the county’s requirements, but rather in the case of Sierra Country Estates the water system did not fully comply with the established requirements at the time. As for Clear Creek, the county is not considering concessions for the developer, but rather seeking to partner in the investment of public water system infrastructure that will benefit county water customers as a whole and ensure that funds are recovered with appropriate legal remedies.
Unlike Sierra Country Estates, it is anticipated that Clear Creek water system improvements will be dedicated to the county for maintenance and operations up front, with proper review, inspection and construction to the county’s standards. This will ensure that the system is properly funded and maintained, unlike other private systems that have failed in the past.
Q: Multiple agencies are working on a bike path from Stateline to state line in Nevada. Currently the Douglas County portion — on US Forest Service land — goes from Kahle to Marla Bay. Any idea how the next section to Zephyr Cove Resort will happen with little or no public lands?
A: Now, let’s go back to the stateline to stateline bikeway project. Douglas County is currently working with a large working group, including USFS, NDOT, TRPA, Tahoe Transportation, etc, on completing the Laurel Drive section behind the Lakeside Inn to the Edgewood Golf Course. We anticipate this section will be complete by October 2014. The next priority section of the bikeway is to work with Edgewood Companies to connect the Laurel Drive portion to the casino core. With respect to getting the bikeway to Zephyr Cove, the preliminary plan has the bikeway going parallel to Highway 50 in those areas challenged by private property constraints.
Q: With the towns and improvement districts accounting for their own road maintenance, what percentage of Douglas roads are actually plowed by the county?
A: Douglas County maintains approximately 171 miles of paved roads. Of those roads, approximately 40 percent are classifed as “collector” roads that serve a regional transportation network, while approximately 60 percent are classified as “local” roads that serve a neighborhood transportation network. Our policy is to focus limited road maintenance resources on collector road maintenance, as these roads serve the highest volume of traffic. So, we typically plow collector roads first, then we shift to local roads as time and resources are available.
Q: Are you anticipating that Scolari’s closure will result in a large shift in the county’s unemployment or sales tax numbers?
A: The closure of Scolari’s is unfortunate for the employees who worked there, as well as the customers who shopped there. It is our understanding that the employees will have an opportunity to work at other Scolari’s stores in the area. I can report that Grocery Outlet and Bealls (a department store), have submitted plans to the county for design review to operate at the former Scolari’s location. Sales tax is not paid on food sales, so we anticipate minimal impact on taxable sales.
Q: Lyon County passed an ordinance banning marijuana dispensaries in the county. Are there any similar moves in the works in Douglas County?
A: The provisions of Senate Bill 374 provide for the licensing and operation of medical marijuana establishments, but are not effective until April 1, 2014. Additionally, the State of Nevada, Division of Public and Behavioral Health’s regulations are still in draft form. Douglas County is currently in the process of evaluating SB 374 and the draft regulations. The Board of County Commissioners will likely hold a public hearing once the state regulations are finalized and/or prior to April 2014 to discuss SB 374 and how to ensure the best interests of Douglas County are maintained under the State law and regulations.
Q: We pay property taxes — with a portion to roads, and we pay Kingsbury General Improvement District for roads. I understand KGID also gets some of that tax money back for roads. Can you give a summary on how taxes flow for us Lake Tahoe GID residents?
A: Douglas County assesses a road maintenance property tax rate to all residents. The road maintenance tax rate goes to fund maintenance of collector roads that serve to benefit all county residents. Additionally, some residents live in a town or General Improvement District, such as KGID. The towns and GIDs assess an additional property tax rate to fund local roads within the town or GID, among other services within their boudaries. So, your KGID property taxes fund the local services that KGID provides to you, while your county road maintenance property tax rate funds regional road maintenance.
Any public officials interested in participating in a similar online forum can contact The Record-Courier at firstname.lastname@example.org or 782-5121, ext. 215.