Commission will tackle gas tax, trails |

Commission will tackle gas tax, trails

Scott Murphy, Tribune News Service

Douglas County commissioners today will consider endorsing a trio of taxes appearing on the November ballot.

If approved, the measures would implement a countywide 5-cents-per- gallon tax on gasoline, a 50-cents-per-square-foot tax on new commercial construction and a quarter-cent sales tax increase.

Commission Chairman Don Miner said if the taxes are approved, they are designed specifically for roads and much of the money would go to towns and general improvement districts.

“There’s definitely a need to raise that money,” Miner said. “There’s not going to be any studies developed. The plans are in place. It will go 100 percent in the ground to improve roads.”

Douglas County Manager Dan Holler said county staff members and the Transportation 2020 steering committee want commissioners to consider the endorsement. The Transportation 2020 committee is asking the board to support the project, Holler said.

“It’s also difficult at a staff level,” he said. “It’d be nice to be able to speak as a county on (the taxes).”

The road issues are one of two issues the county could take an official stance on. Once the commission has finished work on ballot language regarding the Sustainable Growth Initiative question after Sept. 5, it could take a stand on that as well.

“That’ll be up to them,” he said. “We’re gearing up for that.”

If approved by voters in November, a growth cap would limit construction of new dwelling units in Carson Valley to 280 per year.

Commissioners will also examine planning and expanding Douglas County’s trails system Thursday. The trails system will eventually enable residents to walk from Johnson Lane to Lake Tahoe, Holler said. Commissioners will decide locations for connection points and trailheads, he added.

The county’s trails plan could result in a possible master plan amendment toward the end of December.

Commissioners will eventually tackle trail-use issues, including which trails will be equestrian, pedestrian, or allow motorized vehicles and bicycles.

The board will consider supporting a resolution stating its opposition to a Senate bill by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., designating Meiss Meadows and Caples Creek as a federally-protected wilderness area.

“It’s an unnecessary restriction,” Miner said. “It’s disturbing.”

The federal government would be allowed to control public access, he said.

Holler said the restriction could prohibit use of mechanical equipment to fight fires.

“Overall, it’s a significant concern in the whole basin, Holler said.

In other business, commissioners will:

n Consider adoption of an East Fork Fire and Paramedics District grant providing $123,350 to expand the Johnson Lane fire station and fund various communication equipment.

n Consider a resolution prohibiting the county from issuing work cards to applicants with existing arrest warrants.

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