Utility fee could finance senior center | RecordCourier.com

Utility fee could finance senior center

by Susie Vasquez

For the second time in two months, Douglas county commissioners will consider a utility operator fee to fund a new $5.6 million senior center. The proposal was first considered in early November, but commissioners requested additional financial information, which will be presented at Thursday’s meeting.

The 1.5 percent fee, which could be imposed as soon as July 2006, would provide an estimated $495,000 to support construction and operation of the center in 2008-09, according to figures provided by the Senior Services Advisory Council.

Howard Althouse, treasurer for a senior organization called Young-At-Heart said Douglas County seniors be attending the meeting in force and he feels the chance for passage this time is good.

“I’m going to be there early, just to get a seat,” he said.

Althouse said the need is dire. The current center, located at 2300 Meadow Lane in Gardnerville, is overcrowded and desperately needs basic repairs.

“The floor in the kitchen is going, the roof leaks every time it rains and the carpet in the lobby is shot,” Althouse said. “It was standing room only for the Christmas party and almost any day of the week it’s packed. You have to get there at 11 a.m. just to get a seat.”

Designed to accommodate Douglas County’s burgeoning senior population, the new 24,800-square-foot center would be located on 25 acres known as the Bently Depot Yard, just northeast of Highway 395 in Minden.

In addition to the expansion of current services, the center would provide an adult day care facility, library and dance/fitness room.

If approved, the utility operator fee would increase by 1.5 percent over a 24-month period, starting with a 1 percent increase in July 2006. Another .5 percent increase would start two years later, in July of 2008.

The facility would take an estimated 18 to 24 months for design and construction, and should be fully operational by 2008-09.

Residents 55 and older comprise the fastest-growing demographic in Douglas County. Almost a third, or 30.6 percent, of Douglas County residents are 55 years or older.

The county has experienced 154 percent growth in its residents age 85 and over and Nevada’s State Demographer projects the current 7,365 residents over 65 years of age will jump 20 percent, to about 9,000, by 2010, according to figures provided by the Senior Service Advisory Council.

In other business:

n Commissioners could approve a multi-family planned development and public facilities on 46 acres at 1424 Toler Avenue in the Minden-Gardnerville planning area. H&S Construction is requesting the zoning map amendment, which will include 292 multi-family residential condominium units.

• Commissioners could approve a $1.2 million grant application, to be submitted to the Federal Aviation Agency for airport improvements. A 5 percent match, or just under $66,000, will be required to fund the projects, which include improvements to runway 21 and an underground transmission line.

The application must be received by the agency no later than Jan. 13.

Susie Vasquez can be reached at svasquez@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 211.

What: Douglas County commissioners meeting

When: 11:30 a.m. Thursday

Where: Courtroom of the Douglas County Administration Building, 1616 Eighth St. in Minden