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New tax stalled by protesting residents

The Truckee Fire Protection District has tabled a potential tax on four planned developments ” the Railyard, Hotel Avery, the former Forest Service lot above downtown, and planned condominiums at Sugar Bowl ” that could have helped the district pay for servicing town growth.

A protest from the majority of the affected property owners led the district’s board to suspend the tax on new developments, called the Mello-Roos District, for 12 months, leaving the district to explore other funding options.

“The Mello-Roos District remains the preferred method for the fire district,” said Chief Bryce Keller. “The role of the fire district is to serve all new projects over time with out effecting existing service levels.”



But James Porter, attorney for the property owners identified by the district, said the way the fire district went about the Mello-Roos district was wrong.

“I’m not afraid of local taxes ” I’m very supportive of them ” but you don’t threaten property owners to get them,” Porter said.



He said the fire district threatened to charge a large up-front fee to any of the included development that elected not to be part of the Mello-Roos district, something Porter said is not in line with Mello-Roos law.

Keller said the district will need to get funding one way or the other to provide additional services as Truckee grows.

“If a Mello-Roos District is not the preferred method, then in lieu of that, an acceptable alternative will need to be determined on a project-by-project basis,” Keller said. “We need to achieve a similar practical fiscal effect.”

With the taxation district voted down by the board, Porter said the projects will continue to move through the planning process either with the Town of Truckee or Placer County, meeting the town’s conditions and fee requirements, including the existing fire district mitigation fee, the fire district’s assessment that passed last spring, and the normal property tax portions that go to the fire district.

The Truckee Fire Protection District calculated an average for how much new development will cost the district to serve on top of what exists today.

What the district found was additional homes would cost $164 per year on top of existing revenue, adding $.12 per square foot for non-residential development, using 2009 projected costs and revenues, said Truckee Fire Chief Bryce Keller.

The taxes proposed as part of the now-tabled Mello-Roos District would have been based on those levels, Keller said, and even if such a district isn’t formed, the fire district now has figures to project future costs.

“Today barring any new development, we can hold our own without any additional revenue streams,” Keller said.

The Truckee Fire Protection District is also considering expanding, including areas inside and out of the northeast corner of Truckee in both coverage and taxation, Chief Bryce Keller said in a previous interview.

The fire district would get a piece of the property taxes in the annexed area, but that wouldn’t affect the total property tax, Keller said.

Property owners would have to start paying the recently passed assessment however, Keller said, and any new building would be subject to mitigation fees for the district.

The annexed area would include about 5,265 acres and 127 parcels.

A Nevada County Local Agency Formation Commission meeting will be held on the annexation at 10 a.m. on Oct. 16 at Truckee Town Hall.


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