Letters to the Editor for April 21
April 21, 2017
Thaler unwilling to speak truth
Responding to Commissioner Thaler's comments at the April 13 Douglas County Republican Central Committee meeting, I found areas of ostensibly intentional misrepresentations on three subjects.
He told the audience that scheduled road repairs are prioritized by PCI (Pavement Condition Index.) He is deceiving the audience because he heard Commissioner McDermid's open admission at a recent Board meeting that the reason the County is not repairing these local roads is the Board passed an ordinance in 2012, at the conclusion of the Road Maintenance Task Force, authorizing local roads to be paid for by local taxes. These local taxes were supposed to be funded by new road-taxing GID's (General Improvement Districts) imposed upon property owners who are not paying for local road repair through a Town, GID or Homeowner's Association. The Board never created these road-taxing GID's for local county roads, and instead since 2012 the County has been intentionally and covertly neglecting these local roads. Shame on Commissioner Thaler for trying to keep this deception alive.
Here is an update on Jacks Valley Road. According to Commissioner Thaler, repairs are moving forward this summer even though they have not resolved the dispute with the Indians.
Thaler also told the audience that just because your property taxes are going up because assessed property values are going up, this is not an increase in taxes. Only new taxes (like the 1% TOT tax or air b&b taxes) are tax increases. How lame. If there are no increase in taxes, how is the Board going to fund $1.2 million raises for County employees?
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How are they going to fund these raises? The biggest deception that Commissioner Thaler tried to put over the audience was the unsustainability of any raises to the employees as they would have to be paid out of reserves. This would begin a fiscal death spiral of spending beyond our income. His defense was, "What are you going to do when you run out of money?" I would stop raising employee compensation because according to Nevada Policy Research Institute's (NPRI) 2016 "Footprints" study, our local government employees are the second highest paid government employees in the nation, when adjusted for cost of living (eighth when not adjusted.) Our local government police and fire employees are fifth and sixth highest paid, respectively, in the nation. Go to page 17 and 18 of this study at http://www.npri.org/docLib/20160726_Footprints.pdf to verify these statistics.
Commissioner Thaler's unwillingness to speak the truth to his fellow Republicans is alarming.
Center competes unfairly
I've been informed that there are plans to expand and enhance Community/Senior Center services in an effort to be more inclusive to Douglas County seniors and perhaps to the indigent.
I oppose this idea.
The Community/Senior Center has been a great benefit for a lot of Douglas seniors, but as has been pointed out it comes at a cost. The county taxpayers, largely subsidize the Center's operations, the salaries of the county staff who work there, the cost of the supplies, maintenance, and other expenses. That's why they can sell coffee for pennies per cup or give it away, serve inexpensive meals, and provide the opportunity to exercise for little or nothing.
My argument is not that the Center's users are free riders, but rather that the center is subsidized competition for Douglas County fitness businesses, restaurants and coffee shops, exactly the kinds of small and medium size businesses that we're told the county would like to attract and keep. Every cup of coffee, breakfast, and lunch the Center serves comes at the expense of local taxpaying businesses.
I note that many of the taxpayers who were fleeced by the questionable tactics to fund the Center are now patrons who defend it. I ask all taxpayers to take a step back and ask why it's the county government's job to use tax money to build a facility and use it to feed, entertain, and provide recreation for seniors or anyone else? The answer is – it's not. But if enough of the complainers take advantage of the deal, it diverts attention from the local businesses that are getting shafted.
The Douglas County Community/Senior center isn't going anywhere and its operations will probably continue as is. But the Board of County Commissioners needs to put a stop to any ideas about expanding its operations just so some staffers can do some empire building at the further expense of local taxpaying businesses.