Supervisors give final OK to V&T sales tax hike

Carson City supervisors gave final approval Thursday to an eighth-cent sales tax increase to raise $15 million for the project to reconstruct the historic Virginia & Truckee railway.

The tax goes into effect April 1 and will raise Carson City's sales tax rate to 71Ú8 percent.

At the same time, the board voted initial approval to bonds to be funded by the tax, as well as to the city's $26 million capital improvement bond package.

Mayor Marv Teixeira, who has been leading efforts to rebuild the V&T as a tourist train since 1989, wasn't there for the final vote. He is in Chattanooga, Tenn., at an annual tourist train operators convention looking for an operator to run the train once it is built.

Finance Director Tom Minton has said that if the city's economy continues to grow at the rate it has for the past decade, those bonds could be paid off far sooner than 20 years. After they are paid off, the resolution approving them instructs the city to roll back the tax.

Both the construction bonds and the V&T bonds must be voted on again in two weeks before they can be sold.

The bonds complete a $34.2 million package needed to finish reconstructing the V&T, which area officials hope will become the centerpiece of a tourist attraction based on western Nevada's historic part in the development of the West.

The biggest project on the capital construction list is a sheriff's administration building at more than $12 million.

The plan also sets aside $8 million for economic development. The city plans to use $3.5 million to help auto dealer Dick Campagni build a new facility in South Carson Street in trade for a guarantee he'll stay in the capital at least 15 years.

The board also approved several land and open space deals. It took the U.S. Forest Service up on its offer of $1.12 million for the Gilbert property at the southeast corner of Borda Meadow. They also voted to nominate two Wilson parcels at the top of Ash Canyon for purchase under the federal Legacy program to protect them from development.

Open Space Manager Juan Guzman said those parcels totaling more than 100 acres are threatened with development. He said they sit at the entrance to the Lake Tahoe State Park. The estimated value of the properties is $450,000, which should be covered by the available federal funding.

In addition, the board voted to support Forest Service plans to control off-road travel in the Clear Creek/Kings Canyon drainage. The plan designates 12 miles of existing roads as open to the public, 4.5 miles of motorized two-track and 4.5 miles of trails for non-motorized travel. It also provides seven miles of administrative roads for fire, utility and forest management vehicles.

It closes 17 miles of existing roads in the area and prohibits cross-country motor vehicle use.

Larry Randall of the Forest Service said the plan also includes proposals to improve five trailheads in the area, including motorized vehicle access near the water tanks at the entrance to Voltaire Canyon, at Borda Meadows in Kings Canyon and near the top of Kings Canyon Road. He said the plan considers a variety of uses including recreation, law enforcement and fire suppression and is an example of cooperation between the Forest Service and city planners.

Finally, the board finalized master-plan and zoning amendments needed to authorize the Schulz Ranch residential development in south Carson City. The 521-home development is located along the Douglas County line south of Clear Creek and Stewart.

- Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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