Tahoe County, Part 2: What the county would look like
While the beautiful mountain vistas and crystal blue shorelines of Lake Tahoe’s Nevada side will not be altered by the creation of Tahoe County, nearly everything else will.
A new government would mean a new county commissioners, new laws and ordinances, an autonomous school district with its own elected board, and a whole new way of doing business.
Under the Tahoe Citizens Committee proposal, at least eight of the 16 General Improvement Districts would be eliminated, a new transportation district formed to take care of streets and snow removal, and a flat rate of 15 cents per $100 of assessed valuation levied in place of the variety of rates currently paid.
Overall property tax rates are projected to be slightly higher on the South Shore and much lower on the North Shore. Libraries and senior citizen services – which Douglas County funds through room tax revenue – would be supported by property taxes, and room tax money will be used primarily for tourism promotion and parks and recreation.
But, according to the TCC, many things will also stay the same under a new county. These include the North Lake Tahoe and Tahoe-Douglas fire districts, the Incline Village General Improvement District and the level of social services provided by the county.
The Judicial Districts for both the north and south shores also would not change – Incline Village/Crystal Bay will be under the second district and Tahoe-Douglas will be in the ninth.
Five representatives projected
Kelly Krolicki, TCC coordinator, said Tahoe County would most likely have five commissioners, each elected countywide but representing one district. Commissioners’ annual salaries, set by Nevada statute, will be $18,000.
Incline Village and Crystal Bay would make up 55 percent of the population of Tahoe County, and about 60 percent of the vote.
Because representation follows population, Krolicki said the breakdown would likely be two commissioners for each shore and one county commissioner who could reside in either area, probably picking up Glenbrook and the rest of Incline Village.
At least one prospective Tahoe County resident has expressed dissatisfaction with this scenario.
John Glab, president of the Tahoe-Douglas Senior Center, said he is concerned about what seems to be trading one set of problems for another.
“We will be dominated by the North Shore instead of by the people in the valley,” he said.
But Krolicki and other TCC proponents say the South Shore could never lose representation in the new county as it could in Douglas County, because the North Shore cannot grow.
Stateline would be county seat
While Incline Village may have more votes, the county seat would be in Stateline, Krolicki said, because a county complex already exists there.
That building, which also houses the Sheriff’s Office and jail, was paid for by Douglas County taxpayers in the lake and the valley. In the event of a spilt, officials in both counties would have to negotiate for the building as well as many other tangible items, Krolicki said.
If the county is approved by legislators and voters, Krolicki estimated a three- to four-year negotiation period before the new county would be up and running.
The Douglas County Board of Commissioners would also have to undergo some changes if a split is successful, said County Manager Dan Holler.
Miner’s job would go
He said the district lines in the Carson Valley would have to be redrawn by the Legislature, and the Tahoe district – represented by Don Miner – would be eliminated.
Miner, a 20-year Lake Tahoe resident, could no longer sit on Douglas County’s board because of the Nevada law requiring commissioners to live in the district they represent for a certain period of time, Holler said.
“I guess I’d have to move,” Miner said with a laugh. “Or I’d get early retirement.”
His Douglas County term runs out at the end of 1998.
In the event that Tahoe County were created, Miner, as well as any other qualifying resident of the basin, could run for a spot on the new commission.
Michael Jabara, TCC chair, said there are plenty of potential leaders in both North Shore and South Shore communities. He also dispelled a common belief that he would participate in the election.
“This is enough work,” Jabara said. “The GIDs, Chamber of Commerce, TCC board and service clubs are good sources of people who would play a role in the new government.”
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