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Town to appeal judge’s ruling on lawsuit

ANNE GROGAN, Sierra Sun

Truckee Town Council decided last week to appeal a Sacramento Superior Court judge’s April 12 decision in the town incorporation property tax transfer litigation filed against the county in 1996.

“There were probably two dozen or more issues, internal decisions, the judge had to rule on,” Town Manager Steve Wright said. “He ruled in favor of the town on all the small issues and did not rule in favor of the town on all the larger issues.”

Simply stated, the issues involved in the litigation involve services once provided by the county to Truckee before the town’s incorporation.

Wright explained that, for instance, the county was spending a certain amount of tax revenue to provide law enforcement services to Truckee.

Upon incorporation, the town should have received that same amount from the county, Wright said.

A number of different services were addressed in the suit.

“What we’re saying is they’re sending back $400,000 a year less than what they used to pay for,” Wright said.

Wright said that had Judge Ronald Robie ruled in favor of the town on the larger issues, Truckee would have received $400,000 or more per year in tax revenue from the county.

The retroactive amount since the time of incorporation in 1993 would have been about $2.8 million had Robie ruled as the town had hoped.

Instead, the town will receive only about $22,000 each year and about $255,000 retroactively.

“It’s certainly not negative,” Wright said. “There’s more money now than there has been. On a relative scale, however, it’s still disappointing to see that the judge didn’t understand our perspective of the issues.”

Town council feels strongly about appealing Robie’s decision, Wright said, because council truly believes Robie did not understand the complexities of the issues.

Appeal costs

Wright said the town probably spent more than $100,000 in the primary suit, while an appeal might cost no more than $20,000 and would probably be settled within two years.


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