Carson City economy continues to come back
Private investment is starting to come back to Carson City.
Projects in the works include the mixed-use development going in where the old Citibank building stood on Curry Street, the Carson Dermatology Center almost completed near the Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center, and the Boys & Girls Clubs Teen Center slated to open in June.
A handful more are in the planning stage, including the Lompa Ranch development, the 251-acre project that’s going to include single-family homes, apartments and a range of commercial space; the Schulz Ranch, where 150 homes will soon go in the first phase of a planned 450-home development; a 41-home planned unit development called Jackson Village; a 90-unit apartment complex by Silver Oak; and a senior assisted living facility on Mountain Street.
“This is very good for diversifying our tax base,” Nick Marano, Carson City manager, told attendees at a Carson City Chamber of Commerce lunch Wednesday at Gold Dust West.
The current tax news is good, too, said Marano, who delivered an update of the city’s projects.
Sales tax revenue for the current fiscal year, ending in June, is probably going to come in 4 to 10 percent higher than last year, and at $25 million it’s close to the 2008 peak of $27 million and much better than the city’s $17.5 million low.
“This year is turning out to be pretty good,” Marano said.
Property tax, which is calculated by a complicated formula that uses inflation, is flat.
Some of the biggest public works projects in the city’s history are underway too, including the downtown corridor project that’s going to narrow a 15-block segment of Carson Street and add a pedestrian plaza at 3rd Street; the $30 million water resource recovery facility project that broke ground this week; and the new animal shelter, which Marano said is on track to open by September.
Streets are a more mixed picture.
Marano said the city is working to find ways to finance street projects, which rely on revenue from the gas tax, which is falling.
He said the city would repave Washington Street after tearing it up to connect separate water systems on the east and west side of town, enabling connection to the north line that brings in well water from Minden in an agreement with Douglas County.
Needed road work also will be done on Division, Long and Mountain streets and Fleischmann Way.
The I-580 extension is coming, too.
Marano said he’s concerned about what he calls city’s retail gravity center, south of downtown, once the freeway is completed in 2017.
“The car dealers are probably going to be OK,” he said. “I’m more concerned about the retailers that rely on 395 traffic.”
Marano said the city is in talks with the Nevada Department of Transportation to turn that stretch of Carson Street, from Fairview Drive to Spooner Junction, over to the city.
“NDOT has the money to resurface it so what we’ve proposed is just give us the road right now and the gym bag of sweaty dollar bills you have to resurface it and we’ll do it,” Marano said.
The city is also working to be more responsive and transparent to residents.
The government web site has been redesigned, simplified and made mobile-device friendly and is set to relaunch in May.
That joins other efforts the city has made to take advantage of technology, including the Carson City Connect phone application for reporting problems, the Jump Around Carson app that lets bus riders find out where buses are in real time, and a construction map on Carson Proud that shows drivers current road closures.
One cloud that hasn’t lifted yet is employment.
“If you just look at employment Carson City has not recovered from the recession,” he said. “If you look at the total number of people employed in the city, we’re still down 15 percent from our peak.”