Letters to the editor for Friday, Nov. 24, 2017
Affordable housing will affect tax base
At their Dec. 4 meeting, the Douglas County Board of County Commissioners will be taking up the housing element of the county’s master plan. One of the proposals they will be hearing will have an outsized impact on you, the taxpayer.
“Affordable housing” is a term of art that disguises the cost shift from those who benefit from low-income housing to the taxpayers’ wallets. It’s neither classless nor condescending to point out the fact that low income housing generates increased calls for law enforcement and paramedic services due to fights, car burglaries, and drug overdoses. Federally qualified low income housing pays little or no property taxes, so if you’re wondering who would pick up these increased service costs, look in the mirror.
Commissioners in September approved new apartment building construction that will add hundreds of rental units to the county. That was bad enough as it will, to say the least, impact the rural nature of Douglas County and add to traffic congestion. Allowing significant additional low income housing in Douglas County might make the mandarins in county government feel good, but generosity comes easy when it’s done with public money.
So who is pushing for more affordable housing in Douglas County? The usual suspects – low-paying food service and gaming industry employers, builders, and other business owners in related fields who stand to gain. In league with senior county staff they plan to lobby the BOCC to make the county taxpayers subsidize the construction of plantation-style worker housing that will increase the low wage labor pool. Yet somehow the county’s low-paying employers have been getting along all this time with the status quo.
The other dimension of the affordable housing issue is increasing living space for disabled people. As noble as this sounds, it becomes an opportunity for the family and friends of these unfortunate folks to offload their caretaking duties onto taxpayer-funded housing while taking advantage of the publicly funded services they will be provided. Before you get guilted into accepting your societal obligation to the least fortunate among us, remember that it’s those closest to the disabled who have the highest duty for their care.
“If you build it, they will come” has never been truer than for low income housing.
“Affordable housing” is the newest bright, shiny object cooked up to distract the gullible commission majority from paying attention to the infrastructure needs of the county’s citizens. Douglas County government should be working to attract higher paying employers who provide a living wage to skilled workers: engine repair technicians, construction workers, equipment operators, engineers, and the like, who will earn enough money to buy or rent in Douglas County. The best thing county government could do to make our county a better place to live is to get serious about funding road maintenance and flood control projects. We need businesses and employees that will add to, instead of subtract from, the tax base.
Something to be thankful for
A simple thank you doesn’t seem quite adequate enough to both Mort’s Auto Body and Stafford Automotive for their personalized service.
Ten miles north of Minden, late on the afternoon of Nov. 16, I experienced car problems on Highway 395, which made the car unsafe to drive.
I called Mort’s in Gardnerville for towing service. Having two senior ladies with me who needed to go to their separate homes presented a problem.
Mentioning this to Cecilia, who took my call, she took it upon herself to leave the office and follow the tow truck in her own personal vehicles. She delivered us all home safely while my car was taken for repairs.
By 10 a.m. the next morning, the drive belt had been replaced by Stafford’s in Gardnerville, who always gives top-notch service that I can depend on. This Thanksgiving season, I am especially blessed to all those who go the extra mile to show that they care.