YERINGTON - A proposal to change the age of manufactured homes allowed into Lyon County is drawing opposition from some in the manufactured-home industry.
Joe Mezger, manufactured homes salesman with Country Homes Inc. in Silver Springs, said he saw no need to change the ordinance to allow only homes built in 1985 or later. Current law allows homes dating to 1976.
"I would like to see you leave it as it is for the senior citizens, veterans, those on fixed incomes," he told Lyon County commissioners. "Why build affordable housing apartment complexes that will cause problems when you have these homes available?"
As a possible compromise, Mezger suggested the county require all 1976 and newer manufactured homes be converted to real property. The county currently requires all imported manufactured housing not more than 15 years old to be converted to real property.
Developer Hy Cashenberg said it was wrong to establish a set date and accused Commissioner David Fulstone of making discriminatory statements regarding those living in older manufactured homes.
"There is something morally wrong with arbitrarily setting a date. This is a cultural issue. There are people out there that are struggling. It is not only the year that counts, but the condition," he said.
Fulstone said the county has worked diligently to establish affordable housing, but that older manufactured homes are expensive for the county because of the minimal tax revenue received.
"I know there is a need for affordable housing, but there are other affordable housing programs available," he said. "It is very expensive for the county to have these minimal tax-base homes that also use county services - indigent care, fire, ambulance. These older homes are a real problem to these emergency services."
Unless converted to real property, manufactured homes are taxed as personal property. The taxable value of homes older than 1982 is based on their original sale price and depreciates at 5 percent per year, bottoming out after 20 years.
According to 1996 statistics, the average yearly tax bill for 1982 and older homes in Lyon County was $28.57. The average tax bill for all manufactured homes was $126.52.
Approximately half the dwellings in Lyon County are manufactured homes. In an effort to offset the hardship caused by the deterioration in taxable value of older manufactured homes, the county requires all mobile homes 15 years and newer entering the county after July 1, 1998 be taxed as real property.
The Nevada Manufactured Housing Association is not opposed to a change in the date of manufacture if it becomes a 20-year or newer rolling date, according to association President Jim Snellings.
"The whole proposal is based on a tax issue. I don't think it will affect affordable housing because there are enough older (1976 to 1984) homes in the county already," Snellings said. "The whole truth was not presented to the commissioners."
Snellings noted that many older manufactured homes generate no tax revenue at all, because the county doesn't bill for less than $25.
Commissioners postponed a decision on the proposal until the county assesses how the change would affect business. Commissioners will discuss the issue April 6.