Let’s answer the questions we’ve received in the first week since the announcement (July 11, 2022)
Welcome to our first mailbag! Lots of people have asked questions through the website, so we’ve
attempted to answer them all below. If we missed yours, please let us know.
We’ve also received lots of support and offers to help. Thanks to all of you for those too! We’ll be in touch with you as we move forward. In the meantime we'd love your help getting the word out and we're happy to speak to any local groups or clubs or neighborhoods in town. Just contact us.
With that, below are your questions exactly as submitted, with answers and grouped into topics.
Q: Is there any way to not only incorporate as a city but also a new county?
A: In choosing to go forward with a new city government initiative, the Village League carefully considered all the options to make our community better including: a fuller service GID, an unincorporated town, a city or a county. While a county would provide the most autonomy, it’s an option out of our control. We would need the state legislature to create it, which they may or may not want to do. It turns out that creating a general law city is something that we have full control over ourselves without needing any county or state approvals. If we vote for a city, we get it. And for the services we take over it gives the same ability to address local problems. But becoming a city doesn't prevent us from becoming (or joining) a county later either.
Q: Will this become a ballot item? Who approve the move to a city?
A: For this to go on a ballot, first a petition to put it on the ballot must be signed by one-third of the registered voters in Incline Village and Crystal Bay, or just under 3,000 people. Then once it is on the ballot, a majority of the participating voters here in Incline Village and Crystal Bay must approve it. You can see the whole process and all the other details of being a city in NRS Chapter 266 “GENERAL LAW FOR INCORPORATION OF CITIES AND TOWNS" here: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/nrs/NRS-266.html
Q: Is it true that the majority of Washoe county residents need to approve?
A: No, the rest of Washoe County doesn’t vote on a creating new city here. To get approval, we just need a majority of the participating Incline Village and Crystal Bay voters to vote in favor.
Q: How would snow removal be paid for? Does not the entire county pay for it?
A: Right now our snow removal does come from the county budget, with a higher cost for our area than other areas of course. When a new city takes over snow removal those county funds that cover the costs of that service are transferred to the new city. This is the same for other services that a city takes over. When the county is no longer providing a service, the funds used to providing that service in that area are transferred to the city.
Q: What examples of Incline issues have been ignored, and how would incorporating benefit/solve them?
A: We’ve heard people mention lots of thing to be done differently or better, in no particular order:
– Broader range of housing options better matched to range of incomes
– Address traffic jams in and out of town
– More safe/legal parking and less unsafe/illegal parking
– Short term rental oversight that prevents nuisances and bureaucratic burdens
– Bring back or keep services in town (building office, police, court, etc.)
– Better snowplowing of streets and faster snowplowing of sidewalks
– Faster and more convenient building permits and inspections
– Better communications
– More community spirit and events
– Better planning (additional sidewalks and possible town center amenities)
– Better management of economic development and redevelopment
– Better policing priorities and investigations
– Better pedestrian options and safety
While prioritizing specific problems and setting particular service levels will be up to the community once the new city is incorporated, everything on this list can be improved with a new city. Have your own wish list? Let us know here.
Q: Wasn’t there an effort for IV to become a city many years back? Why didn’t it happen then? Not effective? Not serious? Too many obstacles? Cost prohibitive for residents? Or was this just a rumor and nothing more?
A: There have been several previous initiatives but none actually tried to create a city. They have tried to create a new county, but without enough support in the legislature. Or they have tried to expand IVGID responsibilities, but without community support. This effort is different. It is 100% community focused and community led with the goal of solving local problems and serving the whole community better. Without politics or special interest agendas in the way we can just focus on creating a great local government – the best in the country – one that is more efficient and effective, plus more responsive and responsible to our whole community.
Q: Who are the voting members of The Village League?
A: The Village League is a charitable 501 c 3 non-profit organization. You can learn more about their board and history here. The Village League board unanimously decided to support this effort as it falls squarely within the mission of protecting our assets and correcting situations that are or could become detrimental to Incline Village and Crystal Bay.
Q: Does Mr. Duffield support the City of Incline effort?
A: We reached out to him for comment: “Sounds like an idea worth considering. If the community wants this, I’m fully supportive.”
INCLINE VILLAGE GENERAL IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT
Q- What would happen to IVGID?
A: IVGID will continue to operate and provide water, sewer, trash and recreation services alongside the different city services.
Q: What happens to IVGID projects that are underway or under construction when the City of Incline becomes incorporated? What happens to IVGID assets following incorporation?
A: Nothing happens to IVGID projects or assets when the City of Incline Village is incorporated. IVGID remains a separately operating entity, just like the NLTFPD fire district.
Q: What would happen to our town amenities, like the private beaches? Would becoming a city mean that the beaches would become public?
A: The recreational facilities like the golf course, recreation center and beaches would continue to operate as before under IVGID management. So the beaches would stay private, which is critically important to the community.
Q: What county owned facilities need to be paid for, how much, and where do $ come from?
A: According to NRS 266.044, when a city is launched the city and county governments must “equitably apportion those fixed assets of the county which are located within the boundaries of the incorporated city.” Also, “The governing bodies shall consider the location, use and types of assets in determining an equitable apportionment between the county and the incorporated city.” While that means negotiation will be involved, we would expect the city to take over the facilities for providing services locally that the county used, since they’ve already been allocated and paid for that use.
Q: Since there is little new development in Incline Village to add new properties to the tax rolls at current market value, how does a new city adequately fund its operations while adhering to the 3% tax cap applicable to primary residences?
A: Right now with the cap in place, the taxpayers in Incline Village and Crystal Bay are currently paying 9.5% of all property tax in Washoe County, while only having 5.1% of all parcels. This means our community already has a much higher average assessed value than other regions. There is a significant percentage of properties that are not primary residences and not subject to that cap, were it to become a constraint. And with an efficiently run government, budgets don’t need to rise with assessment values - as assessment values go up, tax rates per parcel can actually go down.
Q: Over time, wouldn't the cost of services increase faster than the maximum real estate tax revenues resulting in accumulating revenue shortfalls like Reno/Sparks/Washoe County currently face, forcing them to reduce costs and services? How does incorporating as a city solve this problem, other than giving us autonomy to allocate limited and inadequate funds as we see fit? Might we be exchanging one problem for another one?
A: Our problem here is not revenues collected – its the amount and quality of services provided locally, which we can definitely improve. Also, property tax is less than half of Washoe County revenues and their budget actually increased about 20% this year, so the issue may not be as advertised. In general, governments should always seek to reduce the costs of providing all their services, but they should also provide the level and quality of services that residents want.
If you missed our original FAQ a week ago, you can find those questions and answers here.