Opinion: Community malcontents set on destroying IVGID | SierraSun.com

Opinion: Community malcontents set on destroying IVGID

Bea Epstein
Special to the Bonanza

Several weeks ago, I was so pleased to hear that our County Commissioner, Marsha Berkbigler, would be attending our weekly Conversation Cafe.

I was looking forward to discussing issues of mutual interest, such as the dwindling funding of our senior programs, pedestrian safety and more.

Imagine my dismay when Ms. Berkbigler informed us that she was going to be asking our IVGID Board of Trustees to attend a County Commission meeting and be tasked with discussing a series of issues that were not of mutual interest.

In fact, these are issues over which the county has absolutely no jurisdiction.

I was further disheartened to learn that the issues for discussion are matters that had been created by our local malcontents — and that our commissioner hadn't the courtesy to properly fact check these non-issues with our staff prior to requesting their presence at a commission meeting.

Ms. Berkbigler claims that she is doing this based on the concerns she has received from over 100 residents — and not just our malcontents.

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I strongly question her resident count, and I can tell you that many of the complaints she has received are generated by the malcontents who then convince other, often misinformed parties, to voice their concerns to the county commissioner.

Her letter expresses concern over three IVGID-related issues: its new beach shuttle, its new quarterly magazine, and its policy of keeping the Recreational Facilities Fee flat even when bonds are retired.

If you are frequent attendee of IVGID Board meetings, you will note that these are issues that were initially raised solely by our malcontents. And in each case, these are not new issues — I'm guessing our malcontents just had nothing else to complain about.

While the beach shuttle is new, IVGID has provided a shuttle to Diamond Peak for many years. The IVGID magazine is a new and improved version of our long standing recreation guide. Keeping the Recreational Fee flat has been a policy of the board for a number of years — and has been exhaustively discussed in the past in numerous open, public meetings.

I'm sure if our county commissioner had spoken with our staff, she could have easily had all of her questions answered. And I'm sure that staff would have been happy to communicate the answers to her concerned constituents.

Speaking of constituencies, as I noted before, while a portion of her constituents live here in Incline Village, the county has absolutely no jurisdiction over matters of interest considered by the IVGID Board of Directors.

IVGID is a state agency. We are governed by state law. The state monitors our budget. If a citizen is concerned about how we do our business, he or she lodges a complaint with the state.

Our malcontents are well aware of that distinction. In fact, they have cost the taxpayers of IVGID hundreds of thousands dollars with the many frivolous complaints they have lodged with the Ethics Commission and the Attorney General's office.

In addition, they've consumed years in court attempting to invalidate most of the general powers of our district.

Apparently, after years of failed attempts to dismantle our local government through the legal system, they are now attempting to have another layer of government harass and bully IVGID.

These people claim they are watchdogs. They aren't watchdogs, they are a wrecking crew focused on destructing the many amenities that make Incline Village a great place to live.

I believe this latest stunt is an attempt to convince the county to take over the recreation operations here in Incline Village.

How many of you believe our facilities would continue to be maintained and operated effectively and efficiently by a bureaucracy where we only represent 2 percent of their population?

Currently, our little 2 percent of Washoe County generates nearly 12 percent of the property tax. Despite this fact, senior programs in our community have been gutted over the past five years, leaving IVGID to pick up the pieces.

Do any of you really believe we get our fair share of services from the county?

Just imagine what would happen to our existing recreation programs if the county took over. How much of our current IVGID budget would end up on the other side of the hill?

I would strongly urge all of you to contact Ms. Berkbigler and let her know the malcontents do not represent the views of our community.

I strongly urge all of you contact me about attending the county commission meeting on Aug. 25, and I will arrange for transportation. We need to show our support in numbers. Let's not sit idly by as "community watchdogs" systematically work to destroy what we have.

Bea Epstein is an Incline Village resident and a former IVGID trustee. She may be reached for comment at inclinebea@gmail.com.