An assessment on two very different towns

By Karen Woodmansee

The first convention to hit the Comstock in anyone's memory is going on this week, though the size of it would make Las Vegas officials snicker.

About 70 people representing county assessors offices from around the state are staying at the new Virginia City Ramada Inn and dining in Virginia City restaurants while attending meetings on taxation, assessments and other bureaucratic issues at the Historic Fourth Ward School.

OK, so it's not Las Vegas-style, but Virginia City gave the assessors something Vegas never will - snow.

Jeff Payson, a Las Vegas appraisal manager, admitted conventions in Vegas were somewhat larger, but said he liked coming to the Comstock. Except for the snow.

"It seems like a fun place," he said. "But I'd rather come back in the summer with my wife."

He said the rooms at the new Ramada were great and the food was good but, after hearing legends about Comstock saloons, he was disappointed many were closed at night.

I told him folks up here party on the weekends, which didn't help him since he was leaving today. But I gave him a tip on a couple of cool saloons that would be open Thursday night, and he was happy.

In return for that tip, he discussed assessment issues between our two vastly different communities.

"The scale and scope of issues are different," he said. "But the overriding issues are the same."

So basically, where assessors are concerned, Vegas and Virginia City have a lot in common.

The big difference, he said, was Vegas's historic homes were built in the 1970s, not the 1870s. And it snows here.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or 882-2111 ext. 351.


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