August 23, 2007

Investing in our future

Interim Lyon County Manager Bob Hadfield says farewell in a grim document. Nancy Dallas writes:

In a memorandum to Lyon County commissioners –dated August 14, 2007 – Interim County Manager Bob Hadfield details his thoughts regarding the county’s current economic status and his vision of the future. He has alluded to theses issues a number of times during reports at commission meetings.

Hadfield sees no immediate end to the stagnant economy and said voter approved tax increases are the only viable solution to enable the County to enhance services and expand the workforce to meet growing needs.

“I firmly believe that the Lyon County economy will continue to be stagnant with an occasional gain with a new business from time to time, as statewide sales growth and local businesses struggle, the revenues the County relies on the most, the consolidated tax revenue, will not achieve this necessary growth we need to enable the County to enhance services and expand our workforce in the foreseeable future without voter approved tax increases.”
The dirty little secret is that this has been acknowledged by the powers-that-be for some time. But good luck on selling this to the average Lyon County voter. After decades of being told that ANY tax is bad, that government is the problem, and looking at which political party is in charge of our county, I can't imagine a single one of them walking up to a voter and being able to make the case that they will need to make.

More from Hadfield:
“As a historically conservative County, the ad valorem tax rate has been sparingly used and County government was based on a rural model that did not foresee the demands for service concurrent with rapid urban growth along two major highway corridors.

“As a county with few retail outlets these one shot housing related revenues comprise a significant portion of our sales tax base which makes it more difficult to have a stable tax base to rely on when growth slows.

“Therefore it is my belief that until Lyon County achieves a balanced economic base with more industrial, commercial and related development, we will be unable to meet the needs concurrent with residential growth. We will need to continue to rely on others for financial stability.”
And:
“Without voter relief our fiscal condition will only worsen over time……….in addition, most of our revenue needs will only be achieved by a County-wide tax levy which will compete with other entity’s current tax rates and perceived needs. To achieve the level of revenue required we will need to acquire room under the combined tax rate cap. This can only be achieved by convincing one or more other taxing entities to reduce their current ad valorem rate. To accomplish this Lyon County must be able to convince residents or [sic] each and every area of the County that they need to financially support County government to receive services that benefit them.
Like I said, good luck with that.