Tahoe Bonanza

Incline issues discussed at Reno, Sparks retreat

Bonanza Photo - Emma Garrard Dick Bowers, former city manager of Scottsdale, Ariz., serves as the facilitator at the Reno City Council, Sparks City Council and Washoe County Commission Joint Retreat Tuesday at the Cal Neva Resort an Casino in Crystal Bay.

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Andrew Pridgen
Bonanza News Editor,
October 5, 2005

As the second and final day of the "joint retreat" of the Reno and Sparks city councils, along with the Washoe County Commission, came to a close Tuesday, issues directly affecting Incline received exposure but were not necessarily on the consortium's front burner.

As officials broke into different subgroups to come up with their own ideas for the area over the next 20 years, Washoe County Manager Katy Singlaub presented her group's ideas for future growth and reform Tuesday morning.

Topping her list was "understanding local government," "improving regional planning with more collaborative efforts between local governments, county government and special districts," and to "help the state legislature understand local government tax issues."

Perhaps the last point would be of most interest to residents, said Incline Village General Improvement District Board of Trustees Chairman Gene Brockman, who also noted talk of some kind of formation of local government in Incline was interspersed throughout the two-day meeting.

All feedback, however, was not positive. Mount Rose resident Gary Schmidt, who lives in the unincorporated part of the county and serves on its Board of Equalization, said the retreat itself was just another example of "high-level bureaucracy trying to micro-manage the lives of citizens and wasting tax dollars in the process."

"Why are they having this at the Cal Neva for a little retreat?" Schmidt asked. "It should be in downtown (Reno) with bus service free for the public so they can give feedback.

"Instead there's a $50-per-plate dinner with all the government officials on Monday night paid for by your tax dollars. And all these subcommittees discussing ways to nitpick, when our tax dollars should be spent figuring out regional planning issues like sewage, water and roads."

Schmidt said he does, however, support Sharon Angle's property tax restraint initiative, based loosely on California's Prop.-13 and would be a permanent solution to ebb property tax bills.

Schmidt said he also supports the notion of Incline incorporating.

On a more regional scale, Sparks Mayor Geno Martini said he hopes the retreat succeeds in getting Reno and the county working closer so Sparks officials aren't always caught in the middle over the Truckee Meadows Regional Plan.

Major disputes over the regional plan and annexation issues are mediated by Nevada Supreme Court Justice James Hardesty to resolve the county's lawsuit over the regional plan in 2002. Officials hope these disputes are drawing to a close.

In final negotiations is a historic agreement overseen by Hardesty - a former Washoe County judge - granting the cities up to 30,000 acres for expansion through 2030 based on historic population trends. For the first time in this region, developers would be required to have firm plans in place for schools, roads, sewer and water service before being granted zoning rights to build.

Dick Bowers, a former city manager of Scottsdale, Ariz., served as the facilitator.

- The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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