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City wants tax distribution to keep pace with growth
by Tribune Staff
Feb 13, 2012 | 852 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SPARKS — The City Council today will consider final approval of a letter asking a state finance committee to avoid creating “winners” and “losers” when it ponders changes to the formula to distribute tax money to local governments.

According to a city staff report, Assembly Bill 71, enacted during the 2011 session of the Nevada Legislature, created the CTAX Committee to study the allocation of money distributed from the local government tax distribution account.

The subcommittee’s chairman, Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, asked each Nevada local government to send a letter endorsed by its governing body outlining its issues with the current CTAX distribution. The letters are due by Feb. 24.

In asking that there be no “winners” or “losers” in any formula changes, the letter states that the city does not want to see any existing revenue taken from one agency and given to another. This can be accomplished, the letter states, by maintaining the current distribution model and maintaining each agency’s base distribution in the event of a decline in revenues.

The city’s letter also says the fiscal year 2012 base distribution needs to lean more toward cities where heavy growth occurred over the past two decades. Growth outstripped distribution of resources after the base distribution was established in the 1990s, according to the letter.

“In other words,” the letter reads, “the economic landscape is very different now due to past rapid growth, and the cities need an opportunity to ‘catch up.’ ”

Also, the city’s letter says the local tax allocation formula needs to be simplified and reviewed every 10 years to make sure it reflects the current economic climate.

The CTAX Committee met for the first time on Feb. 1, according to the city staff report. Sparks Financial Services Director Jeff Cronk and city spokesman Adam Mayberry attended the Las Vegas hearing via teleconference from Carson City. The initial meeting focused on reviewing the formula used for allocating money to local governments, special districts and enterprise districts from the inception of the formula to the present day.

It is expected that the committee will hold a total of six meetings during the interim session. City staff will be engaged and participate in this process to represent the interests of Sparks.

According to the staff report, the legislative committee is also to examine whether the formula results in an equitable allocation among all governmental entities, including any local library districts that do not currently receive such an allocation, and if not, consider ways to achieve a more equitable allocation.

Also at today’s meeting, the council will consider a $574,000 bid by Q&D Construction for a rehabilitation project on the C Street parking garage. The city staff report says the garage, built in 1987, is in overall good shape but cracks that cause water to leak from floor to floor need repairing to prevent damage that would cut short the garage’s service life.

The city also will consider a resolution supporting the Trans-Sierra Coalition, a regional effort to improve transportation in the Truckee Meadows up to the Sierra communities.

The Sparks City Council meets at 2 p.m. today in the legislative chambers at City Hall at 745 Fourth St.
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