Some connectivity will be on ballot | RecordCourier.com

Some connectivity will be on ballot

Not everything associated with the connectivity plan is dependent on the taxes the county is pursuing.

With the utility operator fee off the table, proponents of the plan are hoping county voters will approve indexing of gas tax in 2016 and a half-cent sales tax in 2018.

Douglas County commissioners approved the first reading of raising the gas tax a nickel a gallon to 9 cents.

Douglas is one of five counties that doesn't charge the nickel gas tax. Commission also voted 3-2 to raise the sales tax a quarter cent, but since four commissioners are required to pass the tax, one opponent will have to switch for it to pass.

Proponents say a portion of the gas and sales taxes would be paid by visitors to Douglas County.

Up to $900,000 a year would come from the nickel gas tax, if it's implemented in February 2016.

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The quarter-cent sales tax would raise $1.5 million. The half-cent sales tax going to voters would raise $3 million. The original connectivity proposal was to replace the utility operator fee increase. if that was approved.

Douglas County commissioners are scheduled to hear a presentation on indexing at a workshop noon Thursday at Kahle Community Center in Stateline.

The item going on the November 2016 ballot would ask voters to approve indexing of federal and local rates until 2026, when it would have to go back to the voters.

If approved by voters in 2016, indexing would connect the gas tax to the producer price index for highway and street construction, which measures the average change over time in the selling price, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Both Washoe and Clark counties have approved indexing.

Indexing would add a few cents to the price of gas and could raise up to $1.8 million after 10 years.

Money from indexing would go into the state highway fund, according to the Nevada Department of Transportation.

County Manager Jim Nichols said $400,000 of the gas tax would be spent on road maintenance. The county currently budgets $2.5 million a year for road maintenance, but two summers of flooding in a row have consumed much of that.

The county is asking the state emergency fund to pay for a portion of that, but getting the money is a complicated process.

The next step for the connectivity plan is to prepare a formal plan for the sales tax, which must include an expiration date.

That plan would be presented to county commissioners at their Nov. 19 meeting in Stateline in preparation for the second reading of the sales and gas taxes on Dec. 3 in Minden. Four commissioners must vote for the sales tax before it can be implemented. Commissioners Barry Penzel and Doug Johnson voted against it at the first reading.

if you go

What Workshop on gas indexing

When: Noon Thursday

Where: Kahle Community Center, 236 Kingsbury Grade

Info: http://www.douglascountynv.gov