Letters: Stephen Lincoln and Paul McGrath
Voting for the V&T makes sense
I moved to Carson in 1977 and have appreciated how the city has matured over the last 30 years. We live in a beautiful place with many opportunities to make it even a better place by looking forward to realizing visions that fellow citizens provided us many years ago.
We citizens of Carson City will soon be afforded the opportunity to decide which direction our city will move in the future. There will be a question on the ballot Nov. 4 asking us to support a small sales tax increase that will allow bonding toward further completion of the Reconstruction of the V&T Railway. A similar question asking for twice as much failed in 1995 by only 48 votes. I admit, I voted against that question in 1995, and I also admit that I did so because I was misinformed. Needless to say, I regret the decision I made and want to pass on some information that we all need to look at to make an informed decision.
The Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau recently funded two separate studies for the benefit of voters so that they may be informed at the polls. These reports are available on Carsoncitychamber.com for your review.
In August we received our Visitor Profile Study that took place from July 07-June 08. That survey proved to us the following: 66 percent of visitors stayed overnight in Carson City, only 24 percent stayed in Reno. Sixty-four percent spent $25 or more per day on food and drinks, and of that amount 16 percent spend over $75. These figures are per person per day. When those surveyed were asked How satisfied were you with your trip? 89 percent indicated a 7-10 on the scale. Another question asked ” Has Carson improved, remained the same or declined? ” 67 percent felt it improved, while only 4 percent felt it declined. Seventy-four percent would definitely or very likely return in two years and 60 percent would “enthusiastically” recommend Carson City to friends. These responses made me the most proud to be a member of our communty.
The second study , The Feasibility and Economic Impact of the Reconstruction of the V&T Railway, was completed just a few weeks ago. This study is an update of a thorough study that was done in 1993 to determine if a reconstructed V&T project was feasible.
With time having changed, we felt it was necessary to re-evaluate the project as well as make sure the analysis methods were up to date.
The study concludes a nearly $91 million impact, at maximum ridership. It also shows the creation of jobs that our community desperately needs.
I wanted to look at this conservatively, so I looked at the additional impact in year two of operation and non-rail related spending, throwing out gaming from which the Carson City treasurer gets little benefit. The study shows that $8.98 million dollars spent in Carson City with the additional .125 percent sales tax would give us an additional $1,123,318.
According to the Nevada Department of Taxation, the residents of Carson City only pay 70 percent of the sales tax generated; the other 30 percent is paid by people from out of the city. Essentially, we pay 70 percent and get 100 percent use of the funds. This is an important point to keep in mind with regard to the payment of sales tax.
I feel that this is a way to further diversify the Carson City tax base by increasing the tourism dollars spent here. I hope that you take the time to look at these studies yourself. From there make your decision on Nov. 4. I wish that I had known this information in 1995 ” there may be another 47 of you out there that may feel the same way.
Stephen Lincoln is a businessman in Carson City and serves on the Convention and Visitors Bureau board of directors.
Don’t vote to raise taxes
This election you will be asked to approve two tax proposals, one to increase sales tax, and the other your property tax. Coming in third place in a field of five candidates in the primary election for Supervisor, Ward 4, my campaign was focused on less taxes and challenging the past and current Board of Supervisors not to increase local taxes. My first concern was the nickel gas tax imposed by the board some time ago that was to assist the state of Nevada to get started and complete the by pass by 2010. The freeway was already work programmed and funded by NDOT, but the mayor and supervisors had to jump in and become the first city/county in the state to fund their own freeway. After some $19 million collected and paid to the state, it was renewed for another $14 million with some far off completion date for the final phase.
The property tax override for public safety is a good example of the bureaucrats wanting more without proper justification. In reviewing the public safety report used to have the board of supervisors grant approval, any concerned official could easily detect the proposal was a “wish list” for the fire and sheriff’s departments. In this report, the management of existing resources/personnel was absent. The scare tactics of “pay now or pay later,” just does not hold much meaning. A new ambulance may be needed, but personnel to man the ambulance could be from existing personnel. The long standing policy of the fire department is sending a manned fire truck along with the ambulance to all calls is just ridiculous. A recent experience with the passing of a close friend showed you will get a fire truck/ambulance on death calls when all that is needed is a deputy sheriff and the coroner. In budget reviews, how many of theses calls are used to justify their budget? Carson City already has three fire/ambulance stations within seven miles. A review by existing resources is in order by some other than city/fire officials.
Gang activity brings headlines, and causes citizens to react. A “new” unit at a cost of a half a million dollars is not justified or needed, and the tax payers of this community should soundly reject this type of override that was approved by the existing Board of Supervisors. A number of programs used by law enforcement agencies throughout the west have been successful in eliminating or greatly reducing gangs. All it would take is to pick up the phone and get the information from the Department of Homeland Security. The cost to this community would be minimal and would provide a program that would not cost the tax payers millions of dollars over the years.
Personally observing seven deputies in five marked patrol vehicles all eating at the same time really gives me concern on how shifts are manned and deployed to prevent crime in our community. Another example is allowing city vehicles to be used for out-of-city commuting. The citizens are paying for this job perk and we should be questioning what other activities would be included if this tax override is approved.
If the Fire Department Chief and the Sheriff want to improve efficiency, they should form a Department of Public Safety, and I would encourage the new Board of Supervisors to consider a feasibility study to consolidate public safety entities into one city department. There would be a substantial savings to the tax payer in reducing management and supervisory costs.
The nickel gas tax should be renegotiated with NDOT by the new Board of Supervisors to meet local needs, instead of paying for a freeway that may not be completed for another 20 years. That $14M could go a long way in funding some of the city’s needs. Maybe the V&T, but I’m opposed to this tax increase also, because of past mismanagement of their funding. This nickel tax is still being collected, regardless of when a completion date is set.
Current supervisors seeking reelection are Richard Staub and Shelly Aldean, and both are on record for increasing your taxes and using the Redevelopment funds as their slush fund. It is time for them to be held accountable for their lack of concern for the tax payers in this community and to start anew with three new board members.
You are encouraged to read the Public Safety Report before you vote. My recommendation is a NO vote for both ballot questions CC1 & CC2.”