Library seeks City Center vote in November | NevadaAppeal.com

Library seeks City Center vote in November

Sandi Hoover
shoover@nevadaappeal.com

The City Center Project could be placed on the November ballot if officials accept a recommendation being considered by the Carson City Library Board next week.

Library Director Sara Jones said Thursday that she will ask the five-member board at Thursday night’s meeting to vote on whether to make the recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.

If approved by the library board, the action would be “to request that the Carson City Board of Supervisors place the City Center Project on the November 2012 ballot for a vote of the people.”

“There have been a lot of misconceptions that we’ve been trying to avoid this, even though we have gone through all the avenues of doing our due diligence,” Jones said.

The nearly $50 million proposed City Center Project includes a $23.8 million publicly funded portion for a Knowledge + Discovery Center, a plaza, a parking garage and related infrastructure.

Supervisors in September rejected a proposed 1/8-cent sales tax increase as a revenue source for the publicly funded portion and said they’d replace it with revenue from a recently approved landfill fee hike.

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The proposal does not change objections of those who consider the project to be too expensive, however.

In February, a group that wanted to give voters a chance to decide whether the city should make such a large investment began circulating a petition. It reads: “No public funding shall be used for the proposed Carson City Center Project … without a majority vote of the people approving such funding.”

The group has until June 28 to get 2,935 verifiable signatures, and Dennis Johnson, one of the petitioners, said the group has well over 2,000 signatures to date.

“We just want to be sure that the people have their say and we’ll live with whatever they decide, because that’s an awful lot of money,” he said.

“Getting it on the ballot has been our goal from the beginning. We’ve had people right, left and center, but everyone who has signed (the petition) feels the same: Just put it on the ballot,” Johnson said.

And the group does not intend to discontinue its efforts.

“We’ll continue to pursue the petition until there is some sort of agreement between the city and petitioners that it will be on the ballot,” he said.

Jones of the library said the petition was a factor in her decision to ask her board to consider the move, and she acknowledged that it won’t be easy to sell the proposal to voters.

“We know there’s a petition with a number of signatures, and the petition made us rethink some things,” she said.

“We know it won’t be easy – it will be a hard fight. We’ll have to do it voter-by-voter, but I think we can convince the community how much this project is needed and why.”

Robin Williamson, a library board member and former city supervisor, said she hopes the rest of the library board will see the recommendation as a positive step to move the project forward.

“We’ll need to make sure that if we go to the voters, we’ll be able to meet the financial needs, but that’s up to the Board of Supervisors. I’m confident that with this step, we’ll be able to move forward and have the opportunity to meet with people for a frank discussion,” Williamson said.

Mayor Bob Crowell said he will be interested to hear what the library board has to say.

“It will be meaningful to me to learn how they feel, and if the library board wants to go down that road,” Crowell said.