Residents of Washoe County’s Duck Hill area frustrated with local services asked members of the Assembly Government Affairs Committee to move forward a bill that would change the county line and place their property inside Carson City.
Assembly Bill 140, sponsored by Assemblyman Al Kramer, R-Carson City, would redraw the boundary, moving 11 homes on 22 parcels now in Washoe County to Carson City.
The residents requested the bill and the Carson City Board of Supervisors at its last meeting voted to support the proposed legislation with the understanding the city had not sought the change.
“We’re not looking to pick a fight with Washoe County and we understand about setting a precedent,” said Carson City Manager Nick Marano at the Tuesday hearing at the Legislature.
Marano said the city was committed to helping the residents of Duck Hill, whether it was through the proposed bill or working with Washoe County to streamline service delivery to the area.
The committee chair, Assemblyman Edgar Flores, D-Las Vegas, promised help, too.
“We will find a solution whatever happens with this bill,” Flores said.
At issue is emergency response to the area, which the residents say is slow and unacceptable.
Duck Hill resident Debbie Sheltra told of her husband’s stroke and waiting 27 minutes before help arrived from the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District Station 16 and then being asked if she could transport her husband to Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center.
Another resident, Sam Herceg, said another elderly resident called her son in Woodfords, Calif., who called for emergency assistance and arrived to his mother’s house before the ambulance did.
Dean Dow, president and CEO, REMSA, the ambulance service provider, told the committee response times to the Duck Hill area average 18 minutes and a representative from Washoe County Sheriff’s Office said police response times average 19 minutes for emergency response and 30 minutes for non-emergency response.
Several people testified in opposition to the bill, including two Washoe Valley residents who said the bill was a drastic solution to a simple problem.
Mike Brown, retired fire chief for North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District, agreed there was a better way to resolve the problem.
“I think we have a system reevaluation that needs to take place,” he said. “We need a cooperative effort to make sure we get the best response to ensure we’re doing right by these folks.”
Duck Hill resident Sheltra said she had worked with the agencies for years trying to improve service to the area and it hadn’t worked so far.
“They make these promises to you and don’t do anything until they’re threatened by something like this bill,” she said.
The committee also heard Assembly Bill 246, another bill sponsored by Kramer, which would allow multiple counties to form a common tax increment district to pay for projects that cross county lines.
The impetus for the bill is a long-standing issue with Old Clear Creek Road.
The road crosses both Carson City and Douglas County and has long gone unmaintained, lowering property values in the area because prospective buyers can’t get federally-backed mortgage loans for properties on unmaintained roads, said Kramer.
Kramer disclosed he owns a home on the road but AB 246 is enabling legislation and wouldn’t directly resolve the issue there, which must be undertaken by Carson City and Douglas County.
The bill would help in other projects that cross counties, or unincorporated municipalities within a county, such as a potential water and sewer project that straddles Carson City and Mound House, which is in Lyon County.
Marano, Dagny Stapleton, deputy director, Nevada Association of Counties, and Mary Walker, representing Carson City and Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties, all testified in support of the bill.