Sales tax proposal: Town to decide which ballot tonight |

Sales tax proposal: Town to decide which ballot tonight

The town will decide when to take the half-cent sales tax for road maintenance proposal to voters during tonight’s special Truckee Town Council meeting.

During last week’s regular meeting, councilmembers tried to reach consensus on what roads should be included in the backbone system the tax will fund, as well as when to place the issue on the ballot, whether to include a sunset clause in the tax language and how long the tax should be collected. They will vote on the issue tonight.

Town Manager Steve Wright noted the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation’s initiative to amend Truckee’s general plan is on the November ballot.

In addition, other upcoming ballots are scheduled in March and June 1998, which will include the recall vote of Nevada County Superior Court Judge John Darlington, Municipal Court Judge Ersel Edwards, Sheriff Troy Arbaugh and District Attorney Michael Ferguson; a Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District general obligation bond initiative; an initiative for increased library funding and a proposed sales tax to fund a juvenile hall facility.

“That clearly identifies the course of action for you,” Wright told councilmembers.

Councilman Steve Carpenter said he was in favor of dropping Whitehorse Road in the Meadows tract of the Glenshire subdivision from the backbone system. By excluding Whitehorse Road – which doesn’t serve many areas other than the Sha Neva gravel pit – the percentage of roads contained in Glenshire would more closely parallel other subdivisions such as Tahoe Donner.

Carpenter also said he is in favor of including a sunset clause in the ballot language, financing the road system for 12 years and holding the issue until a ballot in 1998.

“It gives us more time to discuss when it should be,” Carpenter said. “I would say delay.”

Agreeing with Carpenter, Councilman Josh Susman said, “I would be leaning at this stage for the June Primary ballot.”

Councilman Ron Florian said the ballot language should include the sunset clause, the roads be funded for 12 years, sales tax funds be dedicated to the backbone roads only and November is the right month to take the issue to the voters.

Ballot downsides

All ballot months have a downside, Councilman Don McCormack said.

“I don’t want to wait, I am more willing to take the chance (in November).”

Mayor Bob Drake said he supports the sunset clause and thought the issue should go to the voters in November.

Truckee Road Committee member and resident Geoff Stephens said he agreed with leaving Whitehorse Road out of the backbone system, but does not believe the sunset clause should be included or that the issue should be held off the November ballot.

“If we keep waiting there is going to be some critical measure on every ballot,” Stephens said. “I oppose the sunset clause because you have already isolated the money – it is going toward roads and it can’t slip into the general fund.”

The proposed road tax – an issue that has been bouncing around town hall for about two months – would act as a a funding mechanism for a 32-mile road system, including Alder Creek, Donner Pass, Donner Lake and Martis Valley roads; Glenshire Drive; Northwoods Boulevard; and main roads in the downtown commercial core, that Truckee’s Road Committee designated as the town’s backbone.

Committee members thought the 32-mile stretch of roads served Truckee’s primary neighborhoods and could be supported by both town residents and visiting second homeowners using the main traffic arteries.

Tax collections would be placed in a trust fund, not to be used for general fund expenditures, that was made possible through state legislation passed a few years ago.

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