Incline Village trustees take neutral stance on GID land sale bill in Nevada Senate
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The general improvement district, at least for the time being, is taking a neutral stance on a bill that would alter how districts throughout the state dispose of land.
On a 4-1 vote, trustees on March 28 directed Tri-Strategies — a firm hired by IVGID to lobby on behalf of the district during the current session of the Legislature — to take a neutral position on Senate Bill 279, despite staff suggestions that the bill could be onerous to IVGID if adopted as presented.
Proposed by Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, and sponsored by Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner, both of whom represent Incline Village in the Legislature, SB279 would require GIDs to follow the same rules Nevada cities and counties follow when disposing of property.
The bill was drafted after IVGID’s finance director sold off three small, unbuildable pieces of land to private buyers. That land was deeded to IVGID by Washoe County on the condition the land would be publicly owned open space.
The transaction drew scrutiny from the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office, a county commissioner and members of the Incline/Crystal Bay community.
IVGID staff said the scrutiny from the DA’s office and others mischaracterized what actually happened. Despite the optics, IVGID officials pointed out that the sale was not in violation of the law because GIDs are not required to adhere to the same processes as other government jurisdictions.
As explained by representatives from Tri-Strategies, the bill would require GIDs to either obtain two independent appraisals of the property it wants to sell or hold a public hearing on the fair market value of the property. If a district opted with the second option then only one appraisal is needed.
That requirement alone, explained IVGID General Manager Steve Pinkerton, could force added cost upon improvement districts. Appraisals can be expensive, he added.
Further, improvement districts and municipalities are not the same. Cities and towns have other tools for disposing of property that are not available to GIDs, Pinkerton said.
Rather than adopting the requirements in the bill, Pinkerton said it might make more sense to have a requirement that forces individual GIDs to adopt their own land disposal policy in a public meeting.
“We appreciate the need for transparency and for clarity but I think adding pages and pages to the code … we don’t think is the best way to meet the needs of the GID.”
That rational seemed to sway Trustee Peter Morris, who was the lone dissenting vote on the board. The bill as presented seems to constitute an onerous mandate handed down by the state.
Rather than remain neutral, Morris said he wanted to instruct Tri-Strategies to work with legislators behind the bill on an amendment that would grant GIDs to negotiate a sale, rather than go with the higher appraisal.
“I feel that this is taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut and I don’t want to be under the sledgehammer,” Morris said.
While fellow trustees Kendra Wong and Philip Horan recognized the concerns expressed by Pinkerton, both advocated for remaining neutral at this time.
Trustees Tim Callicrate and Matthew Dent spoke in favor of the bill, saying it would add more transparency to the process of disposing land.
The bill was heard in the Senate Government Affairs Committee on March 27.
As of Thursday afternoon, another hearing on the bill had yet to be scheduled. Kieckhefer’s office did not respond to an email from the Tribune asking about future hearings or possible amendments to the bill.
According to a Tri-Strategies representative, the deadline for bills to make it out of the chamber they originated in is April 12. That means SB279 must be approved and heading to the Assembly by that date.
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