My Turn: Unsure about Truckee trails tax idea
January 29, 2014
Even though I have been an avid supporter of trails construction for many years, I am on the fence on the proposed sales tax increase.
I am not from Missouri, but I am a show me kind of guy. I have reviewed the Downtown Vision Plan, the Downtown Specific Plan, the Trails and Bikeway Master Plan, the Truckee River Revitalization Strategy, the West River Site Project Plan, the Town of Truckee Economic Development Strategy, the Truckee General Plan, and the TBWB survey results just to bring myself up to speed so that I may ask intelligent question on this matter.
I suggest that maybe my elected council members and the Truckee-at-large community should do the same. I like to be an informed voter.
In the past few years, the Town of Truckee has turned away two major developments that I know of. The town also makes it very difficult for major land developers to do business. The Town's and special districts' mitigated developments fees to build anything in this town are out of touch with the real world. I know — the fees for me to do nothing but install a stove in my mother-in-law's apartment to make my home a second unit home were several thousands of dollars.
I want to know the following before I consider my position on the proposed quarter cent sales tax measure:
• Total yearly estimated sales tax leakage to Reno/Sparks for the past five years?
• Total 10-year estimated loss in property tax, sales tax, TOT tax, jobs and economic benefit to this community when the town turned away the Raley's Supermarket and the Marriot Hotel projects?
The town desperately needs other things like: affordable market rate rental housing, affordable shopping, a correct plan to restore Trout Creek, town and special district housing for their employees, the relocation of the gasoline facility on West River Street and a larger community library before trails.
If I were to make my own Town of Truckee want/wish list, trails would be at the very bottom of that list. Frankly, I see this proposed $10 million sales tax increase nothing more than an extension of the $64 million Measure A and V sales tax measure already in place.
I am on social security with a very low income. I feel that I have to pay a high premium to be living here in Truckee. My total expenditures last year in Historic Downtown Truckee were $54 plus tax, excluding meals and gasoline.
I just made an online purchase of $120 (free shipping) because the Truckee price differential was more than $80 for the same items. I am now using the Truckee Method on the Tahoe Forest Hospital due to their outrageous pricing structure. Boycott!
Why is it that I have a Reno list and only buy local when it is absolutely necessary? The sad part about this is that I am not the only person doing this.
I think it would be advisable that the Town Council conduct a community survey to find out what their constituents really want. The survey question was "will you support a quarter cent sales tax for trails?" I think the question should have been, "How would I like the town to spend $10 million for our future needs with the proposed sales tax measure?"Ask a skewed question and you get a skewed answer.
I do understand the economic and the community asset value of our trails system. However, I cannot support a $10 million slush fund unless there is a better understanding as to just how these funds will be spent. This proposed sales tax appears to be a planner's dream without clear direction from the council.
It may not sound like it, but I do have an open mind on this issue at this time. I will make up my mind when I read the ballot measure if the town council goes forward with this issue.
Denny Dickinson is a Truckee resident.