Supervisor issues Empire Ranch analysis
March 5, 2014
Supervisor Brad Bonkowski put out a 1,500-word paper on the Empire Ranch Golf Course on Monday, and he said he will hold a meeting about the matter March 12.
The paper, aimed at dispelling what he called "a lot of misinformation and rumor" on the budding issue, detailed his take on the facts, listed some city government options and said much of what is in the public realm is conjecture even as people grow concerned about whether city government might buy the land. He said any action awaits an appraisal of the property, which is under way in the aftermath of the property owner entering bankruptcy.
"But all of this is simply conjecture at this point," he said in summary. "The city is a long way from making any decision about the property."
He called it "a complex issue with no easy answers" that stems partly from the community's need to have land on which wastewater-treatment effluent must be used. That is because federal rules prohibit it from going into the Carson River. He also noted city interest isn't just the effluent issue, but the fact the property owners owes back property tax of almost $183,895.
Bonkowski said the March 12 neighborhood meeting he will host at the Empire Ranch Golf Course clubhouse will start at 6 p.m.
His analysis states that the golf course accounts for nearly one-fifth of the city's effluent usage, is second in delivery priority behind State Prison Farm land, and ranks ahead of the city's Eagle Valley Golf course, the Silver Oak Golf Course and city park land.
"There is a redundant irrigation system in place for city parks, which enables the city to use potable water to irrigate them if needed," he added.
Bonkowski said that should the city decide to purchase Empire Ranch, it could use money from bond proceeds for sewer and related utility needs, "although the city has not contemplated doing this." He said the city also has other financing options for such a purchase, but he cautioned all action is in the future and the Board of Supervisors "is just trying to be diligent" due to a vested interest, on taxpayers' behalf, in the bankruptcy proceedings.
He also said city government has options on effluent disposal, though several he listed were expensive alternatives. He said if eventually city government did purchase the 27-hole golfing complex on the city's east side, a "likely course of action would be to record a deed restriction to ensure that the city can continue to dispose of the effluent in perpetuity, after which we would resell the property."