Petition update and all your other new questions answered
As promised we’ve gone through and answered all the questions we’ve received over the last month through today.
This time we’ve edited or paraphrased some for clarity and typos. And here are the highlights in bullets in case you don’t want to read through all the questions:
· We hope to launch the incorporation petition in September for registered voters to sign at multiple locations in town and we’d love your help getting the word out now and volunteering then.
· The City of Incline Village will propose to take over certain services from Washoe County like policing, roads/sidewalks, planning/zoning, court/constable and others, to improve service quality and address local problems.
· The share of property taxes and consolidated taxes (sales tax etc.) that are paid for the services now will be transferred to the new city with no increase in our taxes.
· The new city government will be designed with features that make it the most effective and efficient in the country at serving the public.
· The benefits to the community will be better and more responsive services, plus local public problems addressed and solved - all according to our own needs and priorities.
· The beaches will stay with IVGID which will continue to operate with no change to the beach deed or beach access.
That's what you wanted to know in a nutshell. But here are specific questions, grouped by topic…
Q: When will the petition come out? And if it is out, how can I sign it?
A: Right now we are projecting that the petition will be launched in September 2022. We expect to have multiple signature collectors at convenient places around town where people already go. This will include the Incline Post Office and Raleys as well as events attended by large groups of people. If you have suggestions to make it easy to sign, please let us know! Contact us here.
Q: Who specifically would be eligible to vote on this issue? I’m curious how a city could represent its population when a majority of homeowners are not registered voters in IV. Has some form of a master HOA been considered in conjunction with this movement?
A: The registered voters of Incline Village and Crystal Bay are the only people eligible to sign the petition or vote on becoming a new city. But the city and its officials will have a legal “fiduciary” duty to everyone here: the taxpayers, property owners, residents, businesses, etc., no matter whether they vote or not. All city decisions will have to pass through standard decision making processes that ensure that the city is acting for the benefit of everyone at all times. A master HOA would require unanimous contractual consent (instead of majority vote) which makes it unworkable in this situation.
Q: What about non-resident property owners? Do we have any role in the process?
A: Not officially, since petition signatures and voting are restricted by law to registered voters. But property owners will benefit from having better government services here of course, so we welcome your assistance in spreading the word and helping out in any other ways you can.
Q: Regarding a new city, wouldn’t that just double our overhead and create duplicated services along with ambiguity and redundancies?
A: No. We often think of city governments as having a large and open-ended set of services and activities, but that is not the kind of city that we need to create here. The petition will propose that a new city just takes over a very specific and manageable set of services from Washoe County that will let us solve our local problems. So there will be clear responsibilities and no redundancy in services. As residents we will still have the same set of public services as before, but instead of assigning them all to the county, some will be assigned to the city for better local control. Then each organization can be scaled appropriately to provide their services to us.
Q: Where will the city boundaries be?
A: The proposed city boundaries are expected to be similar to the current jurisdiction of the Incline Justice Court, minus a few parcels to allow for continued operation of IVGID and the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District.
Q: Will the new city of Incline Village be the combination of what is now Incline Village and Crystal Bay?
A: Yes, that is correct. Everyone living up here would be included.
Q: How much actual autonomy will the new Incline Village have?
A: The City of Incline Village will have autonomy over the services it takes over from Washoe County, but will remain subject to state law and certain TRPA constraints.
Q: What are the advantages of making Incline a city? What is the biggest benefit to year-round residents?
A: The big advantage is that our community gets control over public service quality and the ability to address our local public problems. Instead of populating 10% of one county official’s voting district we become 100% for all of our city officials. So we get self-government that does things “for us” instead of “to us”. The biggest benefits to year-round residents are expected to be continuous service improvements and responsiveness on issues like parking, traffic, snow plowing, rental nuisances and so on.
Q: Will the new city push to approve zone changes to block investors like PACASO from forever changing the neighborhoods of Incline Village?
A: The new city can’t have an agenda other than providing better services with better value and solving public problems for our whole community. But it will have new abilities to address problems and opportunities with zoning/planning and new ordinances that we don’t have now. So we would expect the city government to address whatever public problems arise from whatever source.
Q: Will the new city fund a municipal police force? Will the new city have a mayor+staff to fund? Will additional taxes be imposed to cover these potential new ongoing costs?
A: Yes. The new city will take over the responsibility and funding for policing from Washoe County. The new city will also have elected and appointed officials, including a Mayor and all the staff needed to efficiently provide all the services. Our belief is that the funds transferred from Washoe County will be more than sufficient to cover the ongoing costs of providing these services.
Q: This is all very exciting! One question: Should the City of Incline Village become a reality what would the plan be for library services?
A: Unlike other services, we haven't heard complaints about the library services. While our library could be improved, the service doesn’t seem to be bad or getting worse, other than shorter hours. So it falls somewhere between definitely take it over and definitely leave it alone. The current thinking is that Library Services would stay with the county at incorporation and until such time (if any) that it makes sense to have the city take it over.
Q: In FAQ you gave us % on what taxes Incline pays vs. services we get. Can you give us the the : $ amt. of taxes Incline sends to Washoe Co. in property taxes, and the estimated $ amt. of services Incline gets back?
A: Sure, in FY 2022 the property owners in Incline Village and Crystal Bay paid $23,259,512 in property taxes out of $245,096,809 for the whole county, or 9.5% of the total. But property taxes are only 51% of all county revenues, with consolidated taxes (sales, etc) making up another 33%. So if they were spending on our services in proportion to what they collect from us in property tax, then using their 2023 Budget (https://www.washoecounty.gov/bcc/board_committees/2022/Item-12_FY-2023-Tentative-and-Final-Budget-Presentation-5-17-2022.pdf), 9.5% of the general fund ($510 million) comes to $48 million and 9.5% of their total budget ($1,000 million) comes to $95 million. We are also 9,391 out 184,808 taxable parcels (5.1%) so even that lower share of their total budget would be $51 million. But using that same 5.1% share of parcels, the county has also provided some budget data and crude estimation to suggest that we are only getting $24.4 million of services.
Q: What portion of the property taxes paid to Washoe County by Incline Village/Crystal Bay property owners would be transferred to the City of Incline Village?
A: Property taxes would be transferred to the City of Incline Village from Washoe County in an amount that covers the cost of providing the services that we take over from the Washoe County.
Q: What will this do to property taxes?
A: The property taxes that we pay for local services will stop going to Washoe County and be sent to the City of Incline Village instead. Taxes are not allowed to increase when a new city is created.
Q: Besides property taxes, Washoe County also collects sales tax, gas tax, and short-term occupancy tax from IV/CB. Probably other taxes as well. Would those funds stay with the newly formed city or still go to Washoe County? Also, traffic fines - stay with the city or go to the county? Thanks!
A: Most of those non-property taxes (sales, etc.) are currently collected and pooled by the state into “consolidated tax revenue” (“c-tax”) and then distributed to eligible local governments according to a formula. So they wouldn’t technically “stay” with the newly formed city but the city is being designed to be eligible to receive them. And traffic fines would stay here with our local court already having jurisdiction to adjudicate those local violations.
Q: What happened in Fernley when they incorporated and then failed to get a share of consolidated taxes?
A: When the City of Fernley incorporated, they did not take over enough of the services required under NRS 360.740 to make them eligible for a direct share of those taxes. With their experience in mind, we are proposing to take over sufficient services (Policing, Roads and some Parks/Recreation) from Washoe County in a way that clearly meets those qualifications.
Q: How much of the transient occupancy does Washoe charge and how little of it stays in Incline?
A: The transient occupancy tax goes to the Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA) and our “North Lake Tahoe” region is about 9% of the total tax base. When that money is used and allocated by RSCVA a small amount goes to Washoe County and an even smaller amount (believed to be on the order of $100,000 or so) comes back here directly for the visitor center. So it is not a major source of funding.
Q: Would making Incline Village a city do away with IVGID?
A: No. The proposed city boundaries are designed so that IVGID will continue to exist after incorporation, along with the fire district (NLTFPD).
Q: If the IVGID board is a reflection of the community, and I believe it is VERY dysfunctional, what makes you think we could govern ourselves with a city in addition to the GID?
A: The new city will be designed to operate with professionally certified city management, extensive training for elected officials and staff, plus strict standard operating procedures for decision making that solely serves the public. In addition, the ability for residents to control, monitor and hold the government accountable will be state-of-the-art. With these types of processes in place, the new city government can be expected to do a great job serving the whole community regardless of who is in specific roles at any time.
Q: I don't understand why we would need/want IVGID to continue in existence. The City model being proposed should be able to provide a much higher level of service than is currently provided by IVGID. Why isn’t IVGID being dissolved?
A: There are several reasons that IVGID needs to continue to operate when a new city is incorporated. First and foremost is to continue to protect the beach deed as it is now. Second, is because of concerns about how overall recreation funding and operations might be affected if a recreation fee might no longer be charged. Third is that even if it made sense for the city to take over IVGID operations right away, it would still take time to build up the high-performance city government organization and culture with the capability to absorb and train IVGID employees. So the bottom line is that the simplest and cleanest path to solving our problems with Washoe County services and not creating new ones has IVGID continuing to operate.
Q: If the new city is IV + CB, will the residents of CB be given IVGID cards so they can access beaches, rec center, etc.?
A: No. Since IVGID remains in charge of managing the beaches subject to the beach deed restrictions there would be no change to beach access. Crystal Bay residents already have recreation privileges for facilities other than the beaches.
Q: If we successfully incorporate into a city governmental entity, would the US Postal Service still consider us a Rural Post Office? Would we be able to receive improved USPS service?
A: Becoming a city will not change Post Office service (or the population density), since it is a federal government service. But we would expect the city government to be a more effective voice for our local needs with the US Postal Service.
If you've read all of those and still have a question or just want to help, please contact us here.
Don't forget to share this website and post with others. Thanks for your interest and help!