Resident’s analysis of Lake Tahoe redevelopment agency $100 million too high | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Resident’s analysis of Lake Tahoe redevelopment agency $100 million too high

Kurt Hildebrand
khildebrand@recordcourier.com

A rendering of the proposed Stateline 6,000-seat events venue.

Nevada's own version of Proposition 13 ended up causing a Gardnerville man to miscalculate how much a Lake Tahoe redevelopment agency would raise over the course of 30 years.

Resident Dave Maxwell has been going to various meetings stating the agency would raise $215 million to pay for a $100 million indoor venue at Stateline.

However, according to a county memo issued to commissioners on Tuesday, it appears Maxwell counted the full value of the $1 million condos at Tahoe Beach Club when calculating the agency's revenue.

In Nevada, real property is assessed at 35 percent of its value, which reduced the estimate for the Stateline redevelopment area to $115 million using Maxwell's own calculations. That is very close to the amount predicted by county officials when the agency was approved.

According to the county, when the redevelopment area was formed the projected total tax revenue was estimated at $115.7 million over the 30 years of the redevelopment area. Werner said he and Sonnemann met with Maxwell to discuss the spreadsheet. County commissioners are tentatively scheduled to discuss the issue at their July 19 meeting.

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After conferring with the Nevada Tax Association, Maxwell said the county's numbers for the redevelopment area are correct.

"I'll do final numbers over the next couple of days, and then it looks like I might have to eat some crow," Maxwell said.

A memo from County Manager Larry Werner to commissioners indicated that Maxwell misunderstood Assessor Doug Sonnemann's estimate of taxable value as opposed to the assessed value of each of the condominiums at the Beach Club development which are being built at Stateline.

"Mr. Sonnemann stated that he informed Mr. Maxwell that the Douglas County Assessor's Office estimated the taxable value of each condominium unit sold would be $1 million per unit," Werner said in the memo. "Under Nevada law, the assessed value of the property is equal to 35 percent of the taxable value. Property taxes due from a property owner are based upon the assessed value of the property not the taxable value."

Werner said Maxwell's spreadsheet assumed an assessed value of $1 million per condominium unit for the 143 units.

That amount would add up to $215 million over 30 years.

According to the county, when the redevelopment area was formed the projected total tax revenue was estimated at $115.7 million over the 30 years of the redevelopment area.

Werner said he and Sonnemann met with Maxwell to discuss the spreadsheet. County commissioners are tentatively scheduled to discuss the issue at their July 19 meeting.

Maxwell presented his findings to commissioners at their April Lake Tahoe meeting.

Even if Maxwell's spreadsheet were correct, there's no requirement that commissioners have to let the redevelopment agency continue for its full lifespan.

Douglas County Redevelopment Agency No. 1 was repealed after 21 years.

Commission candidate John Engels dismissed the news as irrelevant, even if the county is right.

"Everything else has not changed," he said in an email to supporters. "It is still 'crony capitalism' on a large scale. STAR and their consultant (Bender out of Las Vegas) had to twist into a pretzel to determine the area 'blighted' which allowed for the redevelopment area is the first place."

Commission Chairman Steve Thaler said he agrees with Werner and Sonnemann on Maxwell's analysis.

"I have read the memo and believe the county manager is correct in his assessment," he said.

Thaler voted for the redevelopment agency when it was approved on Feb. 18, 2016.

District 4 Candidate Wes Rice supports the redevelopment area, while opponent Janet Murphy has said she is waiting to see the numbers.

Candidates’ take

The District 4 candidates offered these opinions after this story was initially published by the Record-Courier.

Janet Murphy

It has always been my position as a public official, you need to get the true numbers, meaning you need to do your own homework or validate what others give you. Because as commissioner we are responsible for the tax payer dollars and accountable for the decisions we make! You cant simply say Yes or No, you must investigate ones numbers and get the facts, projections can get you into trouble. Decisions must be made on what is efficient, effective and fair! What is in the best interest of the County and people as a whole. This is what I have always applied and have reaped success.

Wes Rice

In my opinion Mr. Maxwell is an intelligent and honorable man. However, in this instance, I believe that in the rush to condemn RDA 2 some serious errors and miscalculations occurred. Let’s wait until all the information is in before trying to destroy the project. Perhaps a second opinion is due?