Incline Village GM’s Corner: A quick comparison (opinion)
The Board of Trustees considered the District’s Annual Budget Document.
Proudly, staff presented a budget that included a combined recreation and facility fee that will remain at $830 per parcel for the 10th straight year.
Not only are we proud of keeping the fee flat, we believe it provides an incredible value to our property owners.
In fact, we believe our overall services provide an amazing value when we compare ourselves to other public entities in the region. However, we have to look at various entities to get a good comparison.
We provide water, sewer collection, sewer treatment, trash and public recreation — a unique mix when looking at other peer entities.
For example, the town of Truckee is very similar in size, demographics, location and services provided. However, their method of service delivery and taxation is vastly different.
IVGID is a one stop shop for most utility and recreation services.
In Truckee, water and power are provided by Truckee Donner PUD.
Sewer collection is provided by Truckee Sanitary District.
Sewer treatment is conducted by Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation Agency (which also treats the sewage for North Tahoe and Tahoe City).
Trash pickup is managed by the town of Truckee and contracted to Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal.
Parks and recreation services are provided by the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District.
In addition, nearly half the homes in Truckee (over 6,000) are served by the Tahoe Donner Homeowners Association. This HOA includes a fitness center, tennis center, three pools, a golf course and clubhouse, downhill ski, cross country ski center, snow play, an equestrian center, a beach club on Donner Lake, an extensive trail system and a campground.
Thus, it takes six different entities in Truckee to provide essentially the same services as IVGID. In fact, while Truckee has about 60% more housing units than IVGID and about twice the permanent residents, many of their facilities are smaller in scope than here at IVGID.
In addition, you could certainly argue that our cost to deliver these services is far less onerous to our taxpayers. IVGID property owners pay an average of $200 per year in property taxes to IVGID — for a total of $1.45 million. In Truckee, the two sanitation districts and the Recreation and Park District collect approximately $1,000 in property taxes per parcel per year for a total of $12.5 million.
In addition, the 6,472 Tahoe Donner HOA properties pay another $1,965 per year in assessments.
To summarize, a homeowner in the Tahoe Donner Subdivision pays an average of $2,965 per year to support sewer and recreation programs in the community. This doesn’t include any user fees for any of the utilities or facilities. And a quick review of utility user fees show that the average IVGID customer pays around $120 less per year for water and sewer.
IVGID property owners pay an average of $1,030 per year toward these same services — $200 in property taxes and $830 for the Rec Fee. While this isn’t exactly a perfect comparison, it is certainly close.
That is a difference of over $1,900 per year! And it is important to note that this gap has widened significantly over the past decade. Our property tax collections have been slowly increasing over the past five years and our rec fee has remained the same for the past 10 years.
Conversely, the Tahoe Donner assessment has risen over 60% the last 10 years that our rec fee has remained flat.
This ever increasing gap hasn’t happened by accident. It is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of our staff, our Board of Trustees and our stakeholders to make sure we operate our district as efficiently and effectively as possible.
And I can assure you that we won’t be proclaiming “Mission Accomplished” anytime soon.
There are plenty of areas where we can do even better. While our overall budget numbers are superior to our colleagues in Truckee, there are lots of things that they do well and to which we can aspire.
Tahoe Donner offers a number of programs that we should consider implementing such as snow play and cross country ski. Both Tahoe Donner HOA and Truckee have created outstanding trail systems. Truckee Donner Recreation has a state of the art aquatic center.
We are also looking at our other partners around the lake and beyond for best practices to emulate.
Constant and continuous improvement are not only a mantra here at IVGID, it is a way of life.
We want to do everything we can to continue to provide the highest quality service at the lowest possible price.
GM’s Corner is a monthly column from IVGID General Manager Steve Pinkerton, who discusses issues and offers updates regarding various district matters. He may be reached for comment or any questions at email@example.com.