Residents urge against Empire Ranch purchase
February 21, 2014
The Empire Ranch Golf Course land was on several people’s minds Thursday at the Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting, both early and late in the morning session.
At the first opportunity for public comment, Theresa Buzonik testified she has “strong objections” if the city should move to purchase the Empire Ranch club’s land because city government fears a bankruptcy could get in the way of city disposal of treated wastewater effluent there. By federal mandate, it can’t go into the Carson River, and sufficient land for watering is needed.
Buzonik, who with her husband, James, lives near the golf course, voiced concern such a purchase could “decrease our property values” and “destroy my neighborhood.”
She was told any purchase decision wouldn’t be discussed or made until after an appraisal of the land, and that was repeated during a later agenda item on bonding for sewer upgrades. The bonding, a routine step at this stage after sewer and water rates were raised last year to underpin such indebtedness, raised a question as to whether bonds could cover such a land purchase as well.
The sewer bond approval is for $22.9 million, with an additional $1.5 million for stormwater needs. In addition, the board approved the next step toward $6 million for water system upgrades.
When the question was raised about authority to include any such land purchase under the bonded indebtedness, Finance Director Nick Providenti interjected that cash flow from the enterprise fund might be used instead if that decision to purchase develops after the appraisal.
Some city officials are concerned the bankruptcy could result in someone else purchasing the property involved, developing it or using it for some purpose that would end the need for effluent water from the city. The effluent is used for watering on state prison farms, all of the city’s 36-hole municipal golf course complex and the 27-hole and 18-hole courses in the private sector. Empire Ranch has the 27 holes; Silver Oak has 18.