The Board of Supervisors on Thursday approved a $20 million contract for construction of the South Carson Street project.
Sierra Nevada Construction Inc., will break ground on the project next month, starting with underground utility work. Construction is expected to last through December and will include a new two-lane roundabout at Stewart Street, a multi-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists on much of the east side of the street, and reduction of the paved road to two lanes in each direction with a middle turn lane.
The staff and supervisors used the discussion to address concerns they have heard from residents.
“There is a misconception that this is taking (money) away from other street work,” said Dan Stucky, city engineer.
Stucky delineated the sources of funding. The bulk of the money, or just over $14 million, is coming from a federal grant and from the Nevada Department of Transportation as part of the deal to turn over the road and its rights of way to the city. Both can only be used for this project.
Another $1.4 million comes from the infrastructure tax fund, which is dedicated to a handful of specific infrastructure projects. And roughly $4.3 million comes from the stormwater, water, and wastewater utilities’ funds, which can only be used for work on those utilities.
Another issue was Curry Street, which will be used as a detour during construction of the roundabout.
“I know you can’t stop people from using it, but it is a concern,” said Supervisor Stacey Giomi.
Stucky said cars driving south will be encouraged to take 5th Street to Roop Street to Fairview Drive, but will have the option to use Curry Street, too.
And one speaker during public comment said speed limits are dropping too much. Once the project is complete, the speed limits on Carson Street will be 25 mph north of Stewart Street and 35 mph between Stewart Street and Clearview Drive.
“We’ll look at it in a year or two. People petition us to look at speed limits,” said Supervisor Lori Bagwell. “Nothing is set in stone.”
The supervisors were set to hear an appeal of a decision made by the Planning Commission, but instead returned the item to the commission in light of new information.
The commission recently amended Tahoe Western Asphalt’s special use permit requiring the asphalt plant to install equipment to reduce odors produced there. The business appealed the decision.
Since the decision, the plant has been working with the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection to get a permit for a different type of equipment to solve the problem.
“Our goal here is to get to the right answer and in no way does that mean we do not think it is an issue,” said Hope Sullivan, planning manager.
Several neighbors to the asphalt plant spoke during public comment saying the process to address their concerns about the plant has dragged on.
“This guy is long on promises and short on doing anything,” said Bob Lucas, referring to the plant operator.
Sullivan said the item would return to the Planning Commission immediately at its meeting this month and the board voted to return the issue to the commission.
The board also took several initial steps in the fiscal year 2021 budget process, including voting to keep the city’s property tax rate at $3.57 per $100 of assessed value.
In addition, the supervisors voted to transfer two cents of the property tax every year for five years to the extraordinary maintenance fund for work on city buildings and other assets that occurs not more than every five years.
Supervisor John Barrette suggested setting aside a portion of the consolidated tax for roads maintenance. The tax consists mostly of sales tax, the bulk of which comes from auto sales, and goes into the general fund.
But, Mayor Bob Crowell said general fund money should not be earmarked for a single asset.
“That’s a zero sum game,” he said. “You take out it out of the general fund and you take it out of somebody’s pocket.”