Even compromise can't stand up for Dayton sign

The Comstock Historic District Commission has been spared the embarrassment of once again retreating from its responsibilities.

Just when it looked like Dayton's own representative on the historic preservation commission was going to ignore the board's prior decision and turn his back on the district's legislatively mandated rules and regulations, a trio of community organizations offered to donate their hard earned funds to have the historic Odeon Hall and Saloon sign repainted on the side wall of a restaurant in Dayton's historic district.

The restaurant owners agreed to the offer and said they would also paint an approved sign on the front of the building. They also agreed to have the current, unapproved signs removed.

The joy and sigh of relief at the compromise lasted only a few days, however. The owners of the building have now told district officials they object to having the unapproved signs removed.

The offer from the Dayton Valley Days organization, Dayton Historic Society and the Nevada First Gold Discovery committee to finance the repainting of the historic sign was a wonderful and commendable effort to bring the 10-month debate to a close. Members of all three groups care deeply about preserving what remains of Dayton's precious historic heritage.

The motion on the table before this offer was made, however, was an insult to this concept. It was another example of why this issue has reached the level of notoriety it has now achieved.

The commissioner's motion did not include the repainting of the obliterated 90-plus-year-old sign. If the motion had passed, it would have sent yet another message to all property owners within the district that dis

trict rules would not be enforced if you make enough noise.

Rules must be applied equally for all. When exceptions are made, laws become meaningless. Governing boards become quagmires of inconsistencies and subsequently become either powerless non-entities, or powerful entities engaging in illegal favoritisms.

The owners of the former Odeon Hall have done a commendable job of restoring their historic building. This does not, however, give them the right to thumb their noses at the rules and regulations of the historic district they knowingly moved into. They, as well as the members of the historic commission, should be grateful there are caring organizations within this community willing to do for them what they are, in reality, responsible for doing themselves.

If, indeed, the owners of the building in question do not comply with the agreed to compromise, the district has no other recourse than to take legal action. It is the right thing to do. It is the only thing to do.

And it is what should have been done months ago!

The Central Lyon County Fire District's proposed tax increase has stirred considerable debate. Whether you favor 20 cents, 10 cents, or no tax increase at all, here are some facts to keep in mind:

- According to state tax officials, the central Lyon County assessment district (Silver City to Silver Springs) can absorb up to an additional 59-cents in property taxes without affecting the county's taxing ability under the $3.64 property tax cap. The county government and school district's ability to increase property taxes for bond issues or other countywide needs will not be affected, so this should not be an issue.

- This is strictly a central Lyon County issue, not a county commissioner issue.

- The Fire District Board, not the Fire District chief, is proposing the tax initiative. The Chief acts at the discretion of the board.

- Operating seven volunteer stations, spread from Silver City to Silver Springs, is considerably different than managing one station within one community; so don't compare Fernley or Yerington's districts with the CLCFD.

The CLCFD has gone through some difficult times over the past several years; however, district personnel have worked hard to overcome these setbacks. And while I do not agree with all actions taken, the volunteers, paid staff and board of directors appear dedicated to providing the best possible emergency medical care and fire protection to local residents.

Recently, I heard a county commissioner insinuate that these individuals do not know how to run a district. Complaining of the 20-cent proposal, he publicly asked the county manager to invite CLCFD officials to Yerington to "See how a real fire district is run."

I personally do not support a 20-cent tax increase and I believe all actions by governing boards should be closely scrutinized; however, I respect the abilities and intents of those running the CLCFD. I have to wonder where this particular commissioner gained his expertise on multi-station fire departments. Perhaps he should attend a few CLCFD board meetings to offer some insight to the situation.

The pros and cons of a tax increase and the actual needs of this rapidly growing district will be discussed at great length in the coming months. The debate, however, must not revolve around irrelevant and inappropriate issues.

Think about it.


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