State Taxpayers Association deplore redevelopment proposal | RecordCourier.com
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State Taxpayers Association deplore redevelopment proposal

by Sharon Carter

The skeptical eyes of a Nevada government watchdog group are upon Douglas County’s proposed Redevelopment Project 1.

“My major concern is that redevelopment law was not written for economic development,” Carole Vilardo, president of the Nevada Taxpayers Association, said Thursday. “The law was written defining blighted conditions which need to be fixed to make older, abandoned core areas within a community economically viable. As a rule, those blighted areas don’t deliver health and safety requirements and generally cost more for police and fire protection because they’re more tempting for vagrants and criminal activity and are in such poor repair that fires get out-of-hand. Redevelopment is designed to re-habit the areas and generally reduces their service expenses.

“We don’t anticipate that happening in Douglas County. If anything, the growth Douglas wants to encourage will require more police and fire services, but they will have taken away the major part of the tax increment normally used to offset growth costs for police and fire protection. Because of the way they’re doing it, the growth would not pay for itself. The county will have to come to the Legislature and everyone else (taxpayers) will have to pony-up revenue to get them out of the bind.”

Vilardo said her group sees Douglas’ use of redevelopment law to provide infrastructure to develop the North County area as “just a loophole.”

“I don’t see how it will be viable,” she said. “There are many things that could be done (to foster the commercial growth) without using a loophole in a law for something it was never designed to do.”

Vilardo said she has asked the Nevada Department of Taxation’s Local Government Finance Committee to request an opinion from the Attorney General’s office on the validity Douglas County’s interpretation of “blight.” She is also working on an amendment to Nevada’s redevelopment law that would close the blight interpretation loophole.

The Nevada Taxpayers Association is a state-wide, non-partisan advocacy membership group that was founded in 1922. It has 800 members, most are small business owners. The group advocates sound fiscal policy and publishes a biannual list of Nevada statistics called Nevada Tax Facts.

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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