Incline tax victory in peril |

Incline tax victory in peril

Merry Thomas

INCLINE VILLAGE – Last month’s victory among tax opponents in lifting an 8 percent addition to Incline’s land tax assessment could be in jeopardy if Board of Equalization member Gary Schmidt is voted off the tax board today, some say.

If the Washoe County commissioners remove Schmidt from the BOE and replace him with a new member, it could result in overturning the tax decision, said Maryanne Ingemanson, president of the Village League to Save Incline Assets, the local group protesting its property tax assessments.

The Washoe County Board of Equalization voted Feb. 17 to lift the 8 percent addition to the land tax assessment for 1,200-plus appellants in Incline Village and Crystal Bay. The hearing also determined county assessors had not used new assessment rules and regulations, passed Aug. 4, 2004.

League members learned after their win that Schmidt had received a letter Feb. 15, the eve of these hearings, from Bonnie Weber, chairperson of the Washoe County Board of Commissioners, regarding a meeting set to review his competence as a board member.

“It was a blatant attempt to intimidate him, to get him to resign,” Ingemanson said.

“This is an obscene act on their part; it’s pure government abuse,” said Village League member Les Barta.

Weber’s letter states: “In connection with your performance as a Washoe County Board of Equalization member, the Washoe County Commission will consider your character, alleged misconduct, professional competence or physical or mental health… “

Schmidt surmises that he is being singled out because of his past criticism of the district attorney’s office in public forums.

Barta responded to Weber’s letter with a letter of his own, calling Schmidt intelligent, meticulous and honorable. He added that the commissioner’s proposed action “would hardly be encouraging for future prospective county board candidates.”

Although the meeting, scheduled for today at 2 p.m. at the county commission chambers, is open to the public, commissioners may go into a closed session, Weber wrote. “(It) will return to open meeting to take action,” she wrote.

In response, Schmidt has hired an attorney to file suit against the commissioners.

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