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Town, county settle lawsuits

Nik Dirga, Sierra Sun

The Town of Truckee and Nevada County have agreed to drop two lawsuits that have plagued both agencies for several years.

Litigation between the Town of Truckee and Nevada County over property tax allocations and the formation of the town’s Redevelopment District have been mutually dropped, announced county and municipal officials in a joint press release May 18.

“I am very happy that we have finally been able to put these old issues behind us and move forward productively,” said Town Mayor Don McCormack. “I acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of former Supervisor Sam Dardick over many years to reach today’s goal.”

Following its incorporation in 1993, the Town of Truckee filed suit in 1995 against the county and the Local Agency Formation Commission. The Town claimed it was entitled to a larger share of local property tax.

In 1999, the county sued the Town over the boundaries of its new Redevelopment District.

The settlement was hammered out by Nevada County Administrator Ted Gaebler and Truckee Town manager Steve Wright, after 10 meetings over the last year.

Wright and Gaebler, who have known each other for more than 25 years through prior jobs, agreed a settlement would be best for all involved.

“Both agencies saw the risks in prolonging the lawsuits, so this is a definite win for the citizens of Nevada County,” Gaebler said. “I think the county wants to be a partner, and it’s hard to do that with old issues hanging over your head.”

“Our approach was relatively simple,” he added. “We asked, is there any reason why we can’t make both these lawsuits go away and essentially have no harm, no foul?”

As part of the settlement, no money will change hands, but the Town of Truckee can lay claim to two pieces of disputed land, the downtown train depot that currently houses the Chamber of Commerce and a 1.43 acre plot of land at the corner of Riverside Drive and West River Street.

The land will be offered to the Town at no cost in their existing conditions, and the Town has two years from the date of the agreement to accept the land.

“I would say that both of these properties are in the redevelopment area (downtown),” said Truckee’s Community Development Director Tony Lashbrook. “(The settlement) would give us the potential to realize an element of the specific plan, and we could put the land to use.”

The depot land was acquired by Nevada County some years ago and has since been leased to the Town for a nominal fee, said Lashbrook.

“The agreement seems simple, so the complexity of the underlying issues in both lawsuits isn’t really apparent,” said Wright.

Other county and town officials said they were pleased the lawsuit was settled.

“I am very happy that we have finally been able to put these issues behind us and move forward productively,” said Nevada County 5th District Supervisor Barbara Green of Truckee.


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