Storey County to take a new look at old tax
Appeal Staff Writer
It has replaced a water system that dated back to the late 1800s and will build a new water tank.
It has added on to one school and fixed the roofs of two more.
In the future it may fix roads, stop floods and build jails.
It’s the 1Ú4 cent sales tax for infrastructure that Storey County commissioners passed in May 2000 and must renew once the final touches are put on the roofs of the local schools.
Storey County officials were at the state Senate on Thursday to push for SB74, which would expand the things the infrastructure tax could be spent on.
“I would rather have a broader array of items,” said Pat Whitten, county director of administration and budget.
The existing statute already allows the county to use funds from the tax for floods, schools, water and sewer infrastructure, Whitten said. The new bill would allow funds to be used for other things.
He said it would not mean a tax increase, just a continuation of an existing tax that could be used for a new court or detention facility, cultural and historic preservation, flood control projects for the Virginia City Highlands, River District and Six Mile Canyon and road repair.
“We don’t get much from the fuel tax for roads,” he said. “We are really struggling when it comes to roads.”
He said the Storey County sewage treatment plant was near capacity and would need to expand soon, or that funds from the tax could be used to create a savings account in case new infrastructure was needed in the future.
Whitten said the ordinance allowing the tax will have to be renewed once all of the projects it was designed to pay for are completed.
He will bring the issue back to the commissioners in March, along with a list of projects the funds could be spent on.
The tax was passed to provide $1 million each for the county and the Storey County School district to use for essential construction projects.
The county used its share for replacing the water system and the school district used its for adding administrative offices onto the Virginia City Middle School building and for roof repairs to the middle and high schools.
Whitten said the tax is mostly paid by tourists who shop, or visit the bars and restaurants in Virginia City, and by construction projects at Tahoe Reno Industrial park, rather than local residents.
Nevada has a 61Ú2 sales tax rate and Storey County has added 1Ú4 cent increase for the V&T project, 1Ú4 cent to promote tourism and the 1Ú4 cent increase for infrastructure, to put the county’s sales tax at 71Ú4 percent.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at email@example.com or 882-2111 ext. 351.