State asks to reduce property tax paid by senior citizens apartment complex

Nevada Rural Housing Authority officials will ask Carson City supervisors today to give a low-income senior apartment complex a $16,600 break on yearly payments made in lieu of property taxes.

With its fourth request since 1987, the authority said it wants to resolve the issue of lower payments which would allow them to charge tenants less for rent.

Southgate Manor Senior Citizen Apartment Complex on California Street currently pays 10 percent of what it collects in rent payments, a deal struck in 1976 between the state and the city.

This year, the payment is expected to reach more than $24,000. The state authority passes on the cost through higher rents, said counsel Ernest Adler.

"Some of these people can't afford a lot, they're maybe making only $500 a month from social security," Adler said. "It keeps their rent higher because they have to pay that fee."

The 100-unit complex rents one-bedroom apartments for $589 a month and two-bedroom units for $689. The rent includes a $59 monthly utility allowance for single-bedroom units and $69 for two-bedroom places. The complex allows seniors older than 62 years on fixed-base incomes and handicapped tenants of all ages to rent units.

The rents are raised each year to compensate for the cost-of-living index increases, Adler said. The state began the agreement by paying $3,500 a year but increases in rent over the years have raised the obligation to more than $24,000.

In the early 1980s, the state stopped making "in-lieu-of-taxes" payments on all other state property in Carson. In 1987, the authority approached the city to reduce payments on the property, but the request and three others since then went unresolved.

Payments made for the Carson apartment complex are unusual because most rural communities in the state don't collect tax payments in similar situations, Alder said. When the current executive director Gary Longaker took a position with the authority recently, he wanted to address the issue.

"It's one of those issues that have come up several times but has never been resolved," Adler said.

If the complex was obligated to pay regular property taxes, the amount would total about $43,100 a year, according to the city Assessor's office.

City Manager Linda Ritter said staff is not making a recommendation to supervisors.

"I didn't feel comfortable making a recommendation," Ritter said. "It's up to the board."

The state is asking the city to set a straight fee of $7,500 to be paid each year, which would be $16,600 less income each year for the city.

An opinion issued by the state Attorney General's Office in April 2001 said the authority is not required to pay $24,000 a year to the city and the authority must determine the amount it should make consistent with the nature of the project and pay that amount, Adler said in a letter to the city.

Carson City supervisors, who normally meet on Thursdays, are meeting today so they can attend a statewide conference later in the week.


Who: Carson City Board of Supervisors

When: 8:30 a.m. today

Where: Sierra Room, Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.


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