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October 31, 2011
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Latest IVGID tax-revolt payoff plan includes $850K in internal budget cuts

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Two weeks after IVGID staff discussed options to raise resident taxes to pay back a portion of the Incline tax revolt refunds, officials revealed a plan that calls for internal savings aimed at having little, if any, impact on taxpayers.

Whether or not Washoe County plays ball, however, remains to be seen.

At the Oct. 26 Incline Village General Improvement District board meeting, Gerry Eick, director of finance, accounting and information technology, presented a $850,000 savings plan that would allow the district to pay off what it feels is its rightful share of the $43 million tax revolt pot, based on the Nevada Supreme Court-mandated refunds from Washoe County to 8,700 Incline parcel holders for the 2006-07 fiscal year.

Eick broke down the potential savings as follows:

• $270,000 in already set-aside funds,

• $215,000 from the general fund,

• $177,750 by holding three vacant full-time positions open,

• $140,750 by repositioning various capital projects; and

• $46,500 in unused funds from the 2010-11 defensible space budget.

The $850,000 does not include roughly $150,000 in interest associated with the refunds that has accrued since 2006-07. IVGID officials and trustees have repeatedly held the position the district should not have to pay interest, considering it was the county that chose to fight the initial tax revolt lawsuit and file subsequent appeals.

The plan is an essential 180-degree turn from the Oct. 12 board meeting, when Eick and staff presented two options that would have raised taxes, by way of either a one-time $90 per-parcel special assessment, or possibly hiking the Recreation Facility Fee for 2012-13 by $28. The $90 idea was first discussed at the board’s Sept. 28 meeting.

When asked after the meeting last week what changed, district General Manager Bill Horn said staff put together the initial options quickly to get discussion started with the board, considering the impact waiting can have on paying interest.

“We tried too quick to do the analysis ... we created it in less than 3 days to get it before the board (on Oct. 12),” Horn said. “We started work (on the new plan) that next Thursday morning ... after the board drew a line in the sand and said ‘no.’”

At the Oct. 12 meeting, trustee Chuck Weinberger was particularly critical of IVGID staff, both for only saving the initial $270,000 and for suggesting the taxpayers help foot the full bill.

“We need to find some savings here. We can’t just say ‘taxpayers, pay us your refund,’” Weinberger said on Oct. 12.

Last week, Weinberger thanked staff for the new plan.

“I’m pleased to see a lot of what we discussed (two weeks) ago ... there are noticeable improvements,” he said.

Trustee Joe Wolfe agreed.

“Holding those vacant positions open is a great idea,” he said.

While the plan would save residents from paying an extra tax, board chairman Ted Fuller made a point to ask Eick if some service reductions could occur, considering the three full-time positions would remain open.

“To some degree, yes, there could be service reductions,” Eick said.

Part of IVGID’s strategy in devising the $850,000 in savings, Horn and Eick said last week, is to pay off Washoe County in one lump sum, the goal being to not be responsible for any interest that will build up over the next 18 months — the estimated amount of time before all refunds are paid off.

Eick estimates IVGID could be charged as much as $4,000 per month in interest, although that rate would diminish as refunds are paid off over time.

During public comment, former board trustee Gene Brockman backed the idea, saying the district would be best served taking a $800,000 check, laying it on the table at a meeting with the county and using it to negotiate a potential lump-sum solution.

“Take a forward position now,” he said.

Crystal Bay resident Frank Wright said he couldn’t foresee a situation in which the county would accept such a deal, as it would be liable for the interest that would accrue on behalf of IVGID for the next year and a half.

The board eventually decided to delay such a confrontation until staff and district legal counsel can meet with county officials and perhaps get a feel if the offer is doable.

While staff will try to come back with a recommendation in time for the board’s Nov. 9 meeting, Horn said it likely will be up for approval at the Nov. 30 gathering.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Oct 31, 2011 07:17PM Published Oct 31, 2011 07:14PM Copyright 2011 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.