IVGID GM’s Corner: The differences between IVGID and Truckee | SierraSun.com

IVGID GM’s Corner: The differences between IVGID and Truckee

Steve Pinkerton
GM’s Corner
Steve Pinkerton

Last column, I talked about putting together a report card for IVGID. This report card will:

“provide(s) an overall picture of where we’ve been, where we are going, and how we doing in comparison to our peers and industry standards. To meet that goal, we’ll be providing dashboards in each section of the budget which will serve as our report card for each function within the District.”

As noted above, conducting a peer review is a key part of the assessment. However, finding our peers is easier said than done. There are plenty of other public entities that provide water, sewer, trash and recreation — but we really can’t find any that do exactly what we do. We really are very special!

For example, the town of Truckee is very similar in size, demographics, location and services provided. However, their method of service delivery and taxation is vastly different.

“There are plenty of areas where we can do even better. While our overall budget numbers are superior to our colleagues in Truckee, there are lots of things that they do well and to which we can aspire.”

IVGID is a one stop shop for most utility and recreation services.

In Truckee, water and power are provided by Truckee Donner PUD.

Sewer collection is provided by Truckee Sanitary District.

Sewer treatment is conducted by Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation Agency (which also treats the sewage for North Tahoe and Tahoe City.)

Trash pickup is managed by the town of Truckee and contracted to Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal.

Parks and Recreation services are provided by the Truckee-Donner Recreation & Park District.

In addition, nearly half the homes in Truckee (over 6,000) are served by the Tahoe Donner Homeowners Association. This HOA includes a fitness center, tennis center, three pools, a golf course and clubhouse, downhill ski, cross country ski center, snow play, an equestrian center, a beach club on Donner Lake, an extensive trail system and a campground.

Thus, it takes six different entities in Truckee to provide essentially the same services as IVGID. In fact, while Truckee has about 60 percent more housing units than IVGID and about twice the permanent residents, many of their facilities are smaller in scope than here at IVGID.

In addition, you could certainly argue that our cost to deliver these services is far less onerous to our taxpayers. IVGID property owners pay an average of $177 per year in property taxes to IVGID — for a total of $1.45 million.

In Truckee, the two sanitation districts and the Recreation and Park District collect approximately $750 in property taxes per parcel per year for a total of $10 million.

In addition, the 6,472 Tahoe Donner HOA properties pay another $1,900 per year in assessments.

To summarize, a homeowner in the Tahoe Donner Subdivision pays an average of $2,650 per year to support sewer and recreation programs in the community.

This doesn’t include any user fees for any of the utilities or facilities. And a quick review of utility user fees show that the average IVGID customer pays $120 less per year for water and sewer.

IVGID property owners pay an average of $1,000 per year toward these same services — $177 in property taxes and $830 for the Rec Fee. While this isn’t exactly an apples to apples comparison, it is certainly close.

That is a difference of over $1,600 per year! And it is important to note that this gap has widened significantly over the past decade. Our property tax collections have been nearly flat over the past five years and our Rec Fee has remained the same for the past six years.

Conversely, the Tahoe Donner assessment has risen over 70 percent the last 10 years and over 40 percent during the six years that our Rec Fee has remained flat.

This ever increasing gap hasn’t happened by accident. It is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of our staff, our Board of Trustees and our stakeholders to make sure we operate our District as efficiently and effectively as possible.

And I can assure you that we won’t be proclaiming “Mission Accomplished” anytime soon.

There are plenty of areas where we can do even better. While our overall budget numbers are superior to our colleagues in Truckee, there are lots of things that they do well and to which we can aspire.

Tahoe Donner offers a number of programs that we should consider implementing such as snow play and cross country ski. Their tennis center is the top performer in our region. Both Tahoe Donner HOA and Truckee have created outstanding trail systems.

We are also looking at our other partners around the Lake and beyond for best practices to emulate.

Constant and continuous improvement are not only a mantra here at IVGID, it is a way of life.

We want to do everything we can to get high marks on that Report Card!

“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. He may be reached for comment at steve_pinkerton@ivgid.org.