Supreme Court orders Lyon court to consider sewer assessment challenge

The Nevada Supreme Court has ordered a Lyon County district court to hear a challenge to the special charge levied to build a sewer system in Silver Springs.

District Judge David Hoff had dismissed the challenge by Patrick Geurts and Robert Arndell, and they appealed.

The high court agreed that before special assessments can be charged, private property owners must be given notice and the opportunity to contest the validity and fairness of the assessment.

In this case, the two were protesting a $325.32 assessment to pay bonds for the project.

The order signed by Chief Justice Bill Maupin and Justices Bob Rose and Deborah Agosti says case law requires property owners receive notice of such assessment proposals by mail. It also points to evidence Lyon commissioners and improvement district officials may have indicated during a June 1999 public hearing that they intended to delay the special assessment and look for other funding.

And the court ruled the district court failed to consider arguments that the special assessment was arbitrarily calculated. The law requires a special assessment not exceed the special benefit the property gets from the improvements in question.

"Here, it appears that respondents may have failed to determine the special benefits accruing to Geurts and Arndell and instead used a formula which merely divided the sewage facility's total cost by the number of assessable parcels," the order states.

The justices ordered the case reinstated and sent back to the Lyon County court.


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