Washoe County Commission no longer focusing solely on IVGID operations | SierraSun.com

Washoe County Commission no longer focusing solely on IVGID operations

Josh Staab
jstaab@sierrasun.com
Marsha Berkbigler

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The portion of Tuesday’s Washoe County Commission meeting intended to address alleged Incline Village General Improvement District misconduct has been modified in response to legal concerns posed by district lawyers.

Originally, the agenda item for Tuesday’s meeting in Reno was designed to allow IVGID representatives a chance to address concerns posed by residents to Commission Chairwoman Marsha Berkbigler, whose district includes Incline Village.

However, IVGID General Manager Steven Pinkerton has stated that he, along with IVGID chairman Jim Smith and legal counsel Devon Reese, recently met with Berkbigler, county Assistant District Attorney Paul Liparelli and County Manager John Slaughter in a closed-door meeting.

In an interview Wednesday, Berkbigler explained the meeting’s conversation prompted her and county officials to modify Tuesday’s agenda item.

“I had originally hoped to get IVGID to address the issues; at this point, though, I’m not sure what we hope to achieve.”Marsha BerkbiglerWashoe County Commissioner, District 1

“We modified the meeting when IVGID’s lawyers said (IVGID officials) would not attend the meeting and would not speak,” Berkbigler said.

Berkbigler believes the reason for the modification has something to do with alleged ethics violations the district is currently addressing in a separate matter.

“It isn’t that the county is backing off, (IVGID) just said they would not speak with us or attend the meeting,” she said Wednesday. “I had originally hoped to get IVGID to address the issues; at this point, though, I’m not sure what we hope to achieve.”

According to the agenda for the Tuesday, Aug. 25, county commission meeting at 1001 E. 9th St. in Reno (released Wednesday), the following item is scheduled under general business: “Discussion and possible direction to staff on powers and duties of general improvement districts in Washoe County possibly including discussion of formation, operation, governance, compliance with laws, merger and dissolution of general improvement districts.”

In a July letter addressed to Smith, Berkbigler addressed “specific issues and questions constituents have brought to (her) attention,” which include:

IVGID-sponsored transportation services and approval process for providing transportation services; statutory authority to provide transportation services; and funding for transportation services.

IVGID approval process for magazine publishing; statutory authority to provide magazine services; and funding for magazine publishing.

The status of IVGID’s recreation fees, and those previously collected to pay bond debt, now that the bonds have been retired; and the authority and approval process to repurpose recreation fees.

“We represent the same constituency base (as IVGID) and they should be just as open to being transparent as we are,” Berkbigler said Wednesday. “If they had nothing to hide, they would have no problem showing they’d done nothing wrong.”

Phone calls Wednesday to Pinkerton and Smith were not returned for this story.

In his GM’s Column published this week in the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, however, Pinkerton asserted that the recent legal meeting maintained a collaborative tone and, “discussed the many ways the county and IVGID can work together.”

Tuesday’s commission meeting begins at 10 a.m. in Reno. According to the agenda, there is no time set for when the GID discussion will begin.