Sales tax increase possible for rec center
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
Carson City supervisors might have to use a sales tax increase to help build the city’s new recreation center if they don’t want to delay construction.
The project was scheduled to cost about $9 million under an agreement that would have connected the building to the Boys & Girls Club at Russell Way and Northridge Drive, allowing the city and the club to use each others’ buildings. But the city needs $2 million to $4 million more than first estimated because the center had to be redesigned.
Most of the money for construction would have come from a voter-approved sales tax supporting parks and open space.
But the city had to redesign the building after it learned this summer that the plan connecting the buildings would have violated the fire code.
The city parks and recreation commission will talk about the problem tonight.
The redesigned 35,000- to 40,000-square-foot free-standing center is still scheduled to be built under an agreement with the Boys & Girls Club. It will include a gym, fitness room, jogging track and possibly a second gym and outdoor water play area.
City supervisors and staff, however, are trying to see what to do without the $2 million to $4 million they need to build.
Plans for the center could be delayed or reduced, said Parks Director Roger Moellendorf, but adding a one-eighth cent sales tax is probably the only way construction can start in the summer as planned.
“Obviously the city is not going to have $3 million laying around,” he said.
City supervisors can raise the 7.125 sales tax rate to 7.25 without voter approval. A failed advisory ballot question this year that would have raised the sales tax to support the V&T Railway was not required under state law.
The city could hope that it could get funding under a federal public projects program or that the Boys & Girls Club will pick up more of the cost, Moellendorf said, but none of that is guaranteed.
Mayor Marv Teixeira has encouraged the supervisors in office after he retires at the end of the year to increase the sales tax. It would finish the center and other import projects “for the people” like the fishing pond at Fuji Park, he said.
The money for the center, he said, isn’t going to come from anywhere else but the tax.
“If they don’t do something, that thing is going to languish,” he said.
The city should look at other options first, said Supervisor Pete Livermore, but the tax would help finish the project during a time that could bring in a very low construction bid.
The tax, he said, has “always been on the table.”
But Mayor-elect Bob Crowell said the state could pass costly mandates that the city needs to be prepared for. The state might even change the tax structure in a way that causes a new strain on the city’s budget, he said.
“My sense right now is that the city is not in a position to consider any new tax increases,” he said.
The Boys & Girls Club is close to finishing its new $5 million, 12,600-square-foot club. It has recently raised $56,000 of the $100,000 it needs to get a $100,000 private donation match.
– Contact reporter Dave Frank at email@example.com or 881-1212.