Washoe County settles nearly 2 decade-long tax battle with Incline residents
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — After 17 years of debate and discussion, the Washoe County Commission voted on Tuesday to settle the case over inflated tax assessments in Incline Village.
The commission voted 3-1 to refund taxpayers who were overcharged property taxes from 2003-06. Commissioner Kitty Jung voted no on the settlement and Commissioner Vaughn Hartung was absent.
The League to Save Village Assets representative Todd Lowe and Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler spent many months hashing out the details of the settlement.
“She and I were working and burning the midnight oil over last weekend to continue working out details,” Lowe said during an update to Incline Village and Crystal Bay residents. “And, through her good efforts — and staying up until 2-3 in the morning redrafting things — we got something we thought would work.”
Payments will begin no later than July 1, 2021 and the county has until June 30, 2023 to refund taxpayers before interest begins to accrue. The county is responsible for $23.8 million of the $56 million that is owed. The remainder is attributable to Washoe County School District, North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District and Incline Village General Improvement District.
“First, thank you, to Todd for everything he’s done … a yeoman’s job for Incline,” Berkbigler said in the same address to the residents. “Without Todd — first — and the Washoe County Assessor — we couldn’t have done the settlement. And also thanks to our new County Manager Eric Brown who said, ‘Guys, this has been going on long enough. Let’s settle it. It’s our responsibility and let’s get it done.’”
The assessor has been tracking down residents who lived in Incline at the time. They will be notified of the settlement and can file a claim for the refund. There will also be a notification on the county’s website.
According to Lowe, the county has until May 1, 2023 to file the claim unless it is left out of the notification for some reason.
“From [IVGID’s] standpoint, we’re really glad to see this issue buttoned up,” said IVGID general manager Indra Winquest. “We’re really thankful for the leadership of the commissioners, the county leaders and Todd Lowe who did a great job putting this together. Finally, we really want to congratulate the taxpayers for sticking with this.”
The school district sent a letter to the commissioners stating, “WCSD is anxious to bring this matter to a close, however, we simply cannot accept the terms of the settlement on both a technical and philosophical basis.”
The district’s concern was that they were not included in the decision to drag out the lawsuit so they should not be held responsible for the interest accrued over the past decade.
The letter said that if the commission approved the settlement, the district, “will have no choice but to consider additional future legal action.”
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