The Truckee River Flood Management Authority was authorized by the 2017 Nevada Legislature in Assembly Bill 375 to create the Truckee River Flood Control Project Needs Committee ("the Committee"). The Legislature specifically identified the Committee members, one of which was to be a REALTOR®. RSAR member Marge Frandsen was appointed to the Committee by NVR President David R. Tina. Additionally, within the legislation, the specific local government taxes to be considered for a funding source were outlined. Those taxes to be considered included:
The Committee was required by the legislation to make a decision on which tax(es) and/or other fees to be included in the ballot question no later than April 2, 2018. That decision and the ballot question language was then to be referred to the Washoe County Commission. The Washoe County Commission accepted the language at their May 22, 2018 Board meeting.
- Government Services Tax (vehicle registration),
- Property Tax,
- Transient Lodging Tax (room tax), and
- Real Property Transfer Tax.
The recommendation of the Committee was to place Property Tax on the ballot. The ballot question reads as follows:
Shall Washoe County be authorized to levy an additional property tax rate for the purpose of paying for the cost of designing, acquiring, constructing, improving and equipping a flood protection project by the Truckee River Flood Management Authority for the Truckee River in the amount of $0.0248 per $100 of assess valuation and for the Truckee River Flood Management Authority to issue up to $89,000,000 of general obligation bonds for those purposes? The bonds are expected to require a property tax levy of 30 years for each series of bonds from the dates of issuance. The tax will terminate when these bonds have been retired in approximately 30 years from the dates they are issued. The cost of the $0.0248 property tax levy for the owner of a new $100,000 home is estimated to average $8.68 per year. If this question is approved by the voters, any property tax as authorized by this question will be outside of the caps on the taxpayer's liability for property (ad valorem) taxes established by the legislature in the 2005 session and exempt from partial abatement from taxation as provided by NRS 361.4722, 361.4723 and 361.4724.
Additionally, the Committee identified "Direct Benefit Area" (DBA) fees to be assessed by and at the direction of the Truckee River Flood Management Authority. These fees will be assessed on those properties receiving a direct benefit from the flood project. The Committee identified three DBAs and provided a range of levels between $3 and $8 per 1,000 square feet. The Property Tax assessment will begin upon passage of the ballot question and end on the full payment of the bonds while the DBA fee will commence as the property/business begins to realize a benefit of the flood project and end on full payment of the bonds.
A group of local business representatives has been formed in support of the ballot question campaign. It is anticipated that the campaign will be named "Stop Truckee River Flood." The projected cost of the campaign still has to be determined but believed to be several hundred thousand dollars. The campaign group is seeking contributions to fund the campaign.
It is generally accepted that Real Property Transfer Tax was considered initially as the single tax with the least resistance for use in funding the project. Initial polling suggested this to be the case. In follow up polling, which better educated the polled voter and better explained the taxes, including the implications of increasing Real Property Transfer Tax, Property Tax was the most favored. Enough cannot be said of Marge Frandsen's role in advocating on behalf of REALTORS®.
The RSAR Board of Directors has voted to support the "Stop Truckee River Flood" campaign. It is believed that, though the property tax revenue can only be used to fund the Truckee River Flood Project, a major flood similar to the 1997 flood would seriously affect all residents of Washoe County.
RSAR will be hosting a REALTORS® Informed Voter Series to bring members up-to-date on some of the issues on the November ballot. The first in the Series is scheduled for August 29, from 2:00 pm to 3 pm at the RSAR office. The August Informed Voter Series will provide an opportunity for members to become more informed on the "Stop Truckee River Flood" campaign. Click here for more information on the REALTORS® Informed Voter Series.