Redevelopment area collecting a lot of money |

Redevelopment area collecting a lot of money

The property taxes being collected by Douglas County Redevelopment Area No. 1 could pay the average salaries of 10 teachers and seven firefighters.

Of the $2.1 million collected every year, $564,883 would otherwise go to the Douglas County School District, while $361,083 would go to the East Fork Fire Protection District.

Neither of those represents the largest chunk of property tax withheld from operating funds. That is the $641,248 going to the county, which could be used for anything in the general fund.

Even with a transfer of $2.7 million to finish the North Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant, that leaves $3 million at the end of next fiscal year to spend.

There are still a few things on the county’s shopping list we feel would be beneficial. Extension of Vista Grande from Topsy Lane to Jacks Valley Road would significantly reduce the bottleneck on Highway 395 between those routes when there’s a wreck. Building that road will take $2.5 million and the willingness of the federal government to give up the right-of-way.

A key reason to extend the redevelopment area east of Highway 395 was to provide utilities to the Riverwood development. That price tag is also $2.5 million, but quite a bit less than the county would have had to pay the developer under that agreement, which finally expires on its own in December.

We don’t expect either of those projects to suddenly become viable, so the question is whether we should allow the redevelopment district to continue collecting money in the hopes they soon will.

That $2.1 million is a lot of money that could be available to help operate nearly a score of districts in the county.