INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — A judge has ruled in favor of Washoe County regarding the challenge from a pair of local public bodies of withheld property tax revenues in order to pay back a court-ordered $43 million refund tab to local homeowners.In a verbal decision last Thursday, Washoe County District Court Judge Patrick Flanagan denied the lawsuit filed by the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District in late December.“We are pleased the judge (ruled in the county's favor),” said Washoe County Chief Deputy District Attorney David Creekman in a Monday interview.According to previous reports, of the entire $6.5 million for which NLTFPD is responsible in paying back into the $43 million refund, it has only saved about half. In order for the remaining cash to be included in the full refund, the county is withholding that remainder by not releasing the money to the district like it would in other fiscal years.The fire district challenged that withholding, saying the Incline community will see substandard fire and emergency service without the money.The original suit also requests NLTFPD not be responsible for paying interest associated with the withheld funds, considering it was the county's decision to challenge the initial tax revolt suits for numerous years, thus delaying the refund process. Of the $6.5 million, about $1 million is estimated as interest.“We're disappointed with the judge's ruling,” said NLTFPD legal counsel Geno Menchetti on Monday. The fire district board of directors plans to discuss the issue at its meeting at noon Wednesday at 866 Oriole Way. Menchetti said he'll wait until receiving direction from the board before moving forward with a possible appeal.In late January, the Incline Village General Improvement District joined the fire district's suit, as both entities shared similar complaints. According to previous reports, IVGID owes about $1 million to the $43 million pot; about $270,000 is estimated as interest.In an interview last week, Randy Drake, chief general counsel of the Washoe County School District, said he was evaluating the Incline lawsuit and had no immediate plans to join.Of the $14-$15 million WCSD must pay back into the refunds, almost $2.2 million is interest, he said.Read more about the lawsuit here: http://www.tahoebonanza.com/article/20120130/NEWS/120139993andamp;parentprofile=search
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