CARSON CITY, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- It has been years in the making, but now a sales tax increase in Carson City is moving forward. The Board of Supervisors approved the 1/8 cent tax hike on Thursday.
Supervisors will have to vote one more time before the hike is final, and the community has been divided for quite some time. But the next vote is expected to be the same as the first: 4-1, with Ward 4 Representative Jim Shirk as the lone dissenting vote.
"My position was, i think, there are some better alternatives we should first evaluate," Shirk explains.
Shirk says it is not about the $12.50 per year this will hike cost taxpayers on average. He said his "no" vote" was about the principle. "We cannot tax citizens twice and that's what I think we're doing, in essence, with these big issues. Question 18 and the Redevelopment, we're taxing citizens already that those funds should be allocated for these projects and they're not being allocated in the fashion I think they should be."
Shirk does agree Carson City needs these improvements and once the tax is approved, he will support it. Acting City Manager Marena Works says there are critical needs, such as upgrading the animal shelter. "The current facility isn't even at the point where it can be remodeled in order to prevent disease."
According to Works, overcrowding has been a chronic problem. "It's always overflowing. There's too many animals for what the facility can handle."
The tax hike will also support beautification efforts in the corridors and downtown areas. This plan has been on the books for eight years, as Works said, "To make it more walkable, bikeable and the ability to have outdoor cafes."
Works says another item that has been discussed for many years is a multi-athletic complex that would provide indoor facilities. "The city has $5.5 million set aside for that, but not quite enough to complete it. It's been on the project list for many years and that will give us an opportunity to complete it."
Shirk agrees many projects have been stalled due to a divided community, but he sees this as a positive. "I think Carson City is more engaged than other communities. I think that's refreshing to me. I like to be engaged. I love the e-mails. I love the phone calls. I love to hear new ideas."
If the vote goes as expected and the tax hike is officially approved, it would go into effect this summer.