Our View: open space on the table

Four years ago, when Carson City voters approved an increase in their sales tax to acquire open space, not many envisioned that they were also acquiring additional bureaucracy.

Perhaps we are being naive when we hope we can give government at any level additional money without that government running out to hire more employees to help spend it. Still, we will cling to that hope.

It's not going to happen with open space, though. Carson City is advertising for a $61,000-a-year employee to administer its open-space plan, which was more than three years in the making and has not yet brought Carson City any open space.

Before we go any further, however, let's make some things clear:

The city's Open Space Committee, composed of volunteers, put in a great deal of work to get us where we are now, which is very close to a deal for a significant piece of property in East Carson City and several other possibilities.

The members of that committee, as well as members of the Board of Supervisors, have warned us for months that there was too much work involved to let it fall on the committee or on existing city staff.

Many of those people are fiscal conservatives as well, and it pained them to think that some of the money available to purchase land would be going to pay for someone's salary.

But they eventually arrived at the conclusion there was no other way to get it done.

So we will not say at this point that we disagree with the decision to hire an open-space administrator, but we will say we are expecting results.

With $2 million in the bank and an expected stream of $700,000 a year, there is substantial money at stake - not to mention the expectations of the community that we preserve Carson City's open space in appropriate places.

One hot topic now is the Andersen field near Carson-Tahoe Hospital, and we haven't seen the city jump into that debate to offer some solutions for neighbors who want it maintained as open space.

If we had a $61,000-a-year open-space administrator now, it would be interesting to see where he or she stands on that issue - advocate for open space, or advocate for another city agency, the hospital, that has proposed development there.

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