Sales tax data is divided into four sub-regions within the city. In years to come, the Board of Supervisors could use reports from each region to analyze the success of infrastructure projects like the William Street Complete Streets Project.
Despite gloomy forecasts, Carson City’s retail sales did relatively well during the pandemic. From 2019 to 2020, sales tax revenue rose 8 percent.
The Board of Supervisors met Thursday to review the data with Brian Bonnenfant, project manager for the Center of Regional Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno.
According to the written report he provided, South Carson Street alone accounts for 66 percent of the city’s taxable retail sales. That’s no surprise – the auto dealers and big box stores in that corridor drive big-ticket spending.
Highway 50 and the northeastern portion of the city come in second, generating 24 percent of taxable sales. Both regions, Highway 50 and South Carson Street, have had steady increases in sales tax revenue since 2014, when the data set begins.
On the other hand, downtown businesses suffered a 7 percent dip in sales tax revenue. There were 68 retail establishments in the downtown corridor in 2019, which dropped to 61 in 2020. However, downtown does represent the smallest geographic area in the study, and it contributes the smallest portion of taxable sales.
Throughout the whole city, casinos fared the worst. Their sales tax revenue dropped almost 36 percent, while miscellaneous home furnishings had the biggest gains, rising 30 percent.
Bonnenfant noted the dataset only presents taxable retail sales. It does not capture tax-exempt products like perishable foods, or businesses like Classy Seconds Thrift Store, a nonprofit. It does show the city how much money is going into its coffers, and where that money is coming from.
Key takeaways, Bonnenfant said, are that Carson City should keep its eye on revenue from non-store retailers and the cannabis industry.
He added Clark County’s taxable sales suffered more than Northern Nevada during the pandemic because of a lack of business diversity. It’s something that Carson City and surrounding counties can count as a strength.
The supervisors also held a discussion on housing and the Master Plan. City staff are currently scrutinizing Title 18, the “zoning ordinance,” which outlines building laws.
Though discussion is ongoing, the board largely spent time deliberating lot size requirements for guest houses, how to regulate metal storage containers in residential areas, and restricting nonconforming property uses from expanding to adjacent properties.
“Nonconforming uses” describe a building or activity that is not in the proper zoning district. For example, in 2021, the city found a house that was built in an industrial area. The owner had to have her home rezoned before she could sell it. If the home had been burned down or demolished, she would not have been able to obtain permits to rebuild it because of the improper zoning.
Zoning laws are a way for the city to enforce the master plan, outlining how each parcel of land in town can be used.
Community Development Director Hope Sullivan led the master plan and Title 18 discussion. She also gave a short presentation on housing developments.
In 2021, there were 204 new housing starts throughout the city. Notable projects include Little Lane Village, which is going vertical at a rapid pace, and Schulz Ranch, which is getting close to completion.
Among their other agenda items, the board also:
• Approved a tentative subdivision map for Blackstone Ranch on East Robinson Street and North Saliman Road, which will create 137 single-family parcels.
• Refinanced water and wastewater bonds to save the city nearly $1 million, if projections pan out.
• Issued $8.1 million in capital improvement bonds to fund a new fire station.
• Reappointed members to the Parks and Recreation Commission and the 9-1-1 Surcharge Advisory Committee.
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