IVGID GM’s Corner: Addressing Commissioner Berkbigler’s concerns
Special to the Bonanza
In recent weeks, there have been conversations and questions about the actions undertaken by IVGID regarding the community shuttle, IVGID Quarterly, and keeping the recreational facility fee at a level amount over the past six years.
In addition, Washoe County Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler recently sent a letter to IVGID regarding questions she had about IVGID programs and policies. We intend to work with Commissioner Berkbigler to answer her concerns in a way that protects IVGID’s unique powers and promotes the best role of our government function.
IVGID greatly values the cooperative relationship we have with the County and we value the support they provide to our senior programs.
Since the letter was transmitted, Board Chairman Jim Smith, Legal Counsel Devon Reese and I met with Berkbigler, Assistant District Attorney Paul Liparelli and County Manager John Slaughter. The tone of the meeting was collaborative and we discussed the many ways the County and IVGID can work together.
In addition, the Commissioner had originally requested that IVGID attend a Commission Meeting and address the issues of concern. The County has now modified the proposed meeting agenda, and the item’s subject will now be primarily on General Improvement District law.
The County clarified that IVGID will not be asked to speak, comment or participate in any way in the meeting. If a member of the public wishes to speak about IVGID, they must do so during the public comment period.
We also invited Washoe County to make a presentation to IVGID and in return IVGID can make a presentation to the County. The discussion regarding the presentations were very cordial, collaborative, and positive.
In that spirit of collaboration, I thought it would be helpful to address the issues brought up by the Commissioner:
IVGID Community Shuttle
As many of you know, IVGID already provides shuttle service to Diamond Peak during ski season. To help mitigate Fourth of July and traffic control at the on summer weekends at the beaches, staff chartered two 21-passenger ADA-compliant shuttles through Truckee-Tahoe Transportation at a projected total cost of $15,000.
I authorized the expenditure of the funds and the implementation of the Shuttle under my authority as General Manager. I also highlighted the Shuttle in my June 10 GM’s Corner article.
In an effort to increase the Board’s transparency and communication to its parcel owners and constituents, the staff expanded the District’s Recreation Guide into a Quarterly magazine/newsletter to be mailed out to our parcel owners and inserted in the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza.
Sierra Nevada Media Group (owned by Swift Communications, the Bonanza’s parent company) was contracted to coordinate advertisements, offsetting the costs of producing and mailing the magazine.
SNMG pays for the publishing of the magazine/newsletter and contributes $3,000 to the mailing. IVGID elected to send it First Class for the first issue, bringing IVGID’s cost to $4,352.62. This cost was within my authority as General Manager; I authorized the expenditure and the implementation of the expanded newsletter.
IVGID will be sending future issues as a Standard mailing. Under this model, IVGID will be doubling the number of publication dates, increasing the distribution of the information, and reducing District costs. The newsletter was the subject of my GM’s Corner article on June 10.
The Recreation Facility Fee (RFF) has now been kept flat for six straight years. While some of the District’s bond debt has been retired during that time, it has been Board practice to keep the Fee structure as is.
The Rec Fee bond debt was first discussed in great detail at a Board of Trustees work session on November 1-2, 2011. At the work session, it was noted that recreation bond issues would be sun setting in 2013 and 2015, and that would lead to a $170 per-parcel reduction in debt service by 2015, but there would be the need for additional debt service in the future.
It was the consensus of the Board at that 2011 work session to maintain a flat recreation fee in order to minimize the potential for wide swings in the RFF in the future.
The Board practice has been discussed during many budget sessions since that time and implemented as part of the adopted budget for each of the past four years. In 2012, the Board unanimously approved the budget.
In 2013, Trustees Devine, Wolfe, and Simonian voted in favor of the budget, with Trustees Smith and Hammerel opposed. In 2014, Trustees Devine, Simonian, Wolfe, and Hammerel voted in favor of the budget; Trustee Smith voted opposed.
Earlier this year, Trustees Hammerel, Wong, and Devine voted in favor of the budget; Trustees Smith and Callicrate voted opposed to the current budget.
An overview of this policy is in the GM’s Corner dated April 2, 2015.
“GM’s Corner” is a recurring column from Incline Village General Improvement Distinct General Manager Steve Pinkerton, who will discuss issues and offer updates regarding various district matters.