(Jim Clark) – Wow. Ten candidates for IVGID Board of Trustees . . . count ‘em . . . ten. This is the point in the election cycle where we voters get to see how well representative democracy works. It’s our job to pin these candidates down on facts and issues to make sure that they are knowledgeable. We should also exact promises from them about what they will do to fix the problems we voters identify if they get elected. It would be nice if they would all put their campaign planks in writing and hand them out at the various candidate debates that will be occurring.
To me the biggest issue is taxes, or as Incline Village/Crystal Bay property owners call them, recreation fees. As most of us know, the IVGID recreation fee is not a “tax” as such even though it is assessed in our county tax bills and collected by Washoe County on behalf of IVGID.
So, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, are we any better off than we were 4 years ago? How about 10 years ago?
To find out, I called up IVGID’s web site (www.ivgid.org), and after trying a number of icons, finally found “financial reporting” under “resources.” “Financial Reporting” offers: “2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (106 pages), “2011-12 Operating Budget” (302 pages) and “2011-12 Capital Budget” (424 pages). That’s a heap of reading.
My browsing paid off, however. Just 23 pages into the comprehensive financial report, I found the Holy Grail . . . an insert depicting the history of the recreation fee. The fee components are “beach only” and “community services.” When the beaches were acquired, property owners had a choice of whether to opt in to beach access. Opting in meant assessments for maintenance and other costs, so many Lake front owners chose to avoid that expense and are not charged the “Beach Only” since they already have beaches adjacent their properties. The rest of us pay it, however, so I will use combined figures for this discussion.
In fiscal year 2001-02, the recreation fee was $445 per parcel. In fiscal year 2010-11, the fee was $830 per parcel, an 87% increase or an average of 8.7% per year. If the currently proposed recreation fee of $1,110 per parcel is approved, that will amount to a 147% increase over 2001-02 or a 13% per year average. What do they do with all that money?
There is a second Holy Grail adjacent the Recreation Fee disclosure, an insert showing how the current recreation fee of $830 per parcel is allocated. The two golf courses are allocated $52, which when multiplied by the number of real properties, amounts to a golf course subsidy by property owners of just over $450,000 per year; Chateau/Aspen Grove are allocated $48 for a total subsidy of just under $420,000 per year; the ski hill is allocated $151 or just over $1.3 million per year plus a “CIP Charge for Ski Lodge” of $110 or $970,000 per year. Another $118 is allocated to the 20-year-old recreation center, a subsidy of over $1,250 per year.
It seems to me that we should be all over IVGID candidates on these facts. We property owners have to pay user fees as well subsidize recreation venues through property assessments. Isn’t there a way recreation venues can be self sustaining? Why does our IVGID property tax have to increase by 13% per year? Are there cost saving measures which can be utilized?
All right you ten IVGID trustee candidates . . . we voters are ready for you now.
Consider us armed and dangerous so do your homework.
(Jim Clark is President of Republican Advocates and a member of the Washoe County & Nevada State GOP Central Committees; he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)