V&T, public safety ballot questions rejected by voters | NevadaAppeal.com

V&T, public safety ballot questions rejected by voters

Dave Frank
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer

Carson City voters rejected two city ballot questions Tuesday that would have raised sales and property taxes.

A proposal that would have raised the sales tax one-eighth of a cent to support the V&T Railway tourist train project was turned down by 61 percent of the 22,938 people who voted on the question. Another plan that would have raised property taxes outside the sales tax cap to hire more staff at the Carson City fire and sheriff’s departments was turned down by about 69 percent of the 22,762 people who voted on it.

The V&T proposal was an advisory question, but city supervisors have said they will respect the opinion of voters even though they could raise the sales tax without going to voters.

The public safety question was set up as a binding vote that supporters, while acknowledging the cost of it and the slow economy, said needed to pass because an ambulance team, gang unit, seasonal firefighters, jail deputies and dispatchers needed to be hired to keep the city safe.

Sheriff Kenny Furlong and other supporters of the question had said the staff would have brought the departments up to where they should have been years ago.

Furlong said Tuesday he will as always focus on public safety, but is still concerned about problems he brought up in the campaign for the ballot question.

“We continue focusing on needs that have to be augmented in one way or another,” he said.

But John Wagner, an opponent of the question, said supporters didn’t make a good case to voters for why taxes should be raised.

“I expected it to be a pretty good margin turning it down,” he said.

For the V&T question, Mayor Marv Teixeira, who wrote the proposal, had said the $10 million his ballot question would have raised for the public project modeled after the original 19th-century V&T train would have helped finish the project running 18 miles from Virginia City to Carson City.

The slow economy made it a challenging year to try to raise taxes, however, he said.

“Accept the vote, get over it and get down the road,” he said.

But Dennis Johnson, an opponent and former candidate for Ward 2 supervisor, said the proposal was a “scam on the taxpayers” that was clearly rejected by Carson City voters who have already raised $21 million through sales and room taxes.

“They have done enough, paid enough on that project,” he said.

– Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.