Growth drives Lyon County bond issues

DAYTON - Burgeoning growth is driving a series of bond efforts to help serve Lyon County.

Central Lyon fire officials are struggling with which of three options they should present to voters, knowing that failure could mean dangerously low service rates.

The Lyon County School District is responding to Silver Springs residents' calls to put together a bond issue that would build a high school in the county's heart.

And the Northern Lyon County Fire District is seeking a 10-cent tax override to improve its service.

Population growth in Lyon County north of the Carson River is expected to be 6. 1 percent through the next five years. The present population is 24,633, according to the State Demographer's Office.

Central Lyon County fire officials plan a survey to find out what residents want from their fire service.

A proposal to hire a consultant was approved by the Central Lyon County Fire District on Wednesday night.

Three options are being considered by board members trying to find a way to meet increased demand due to growth.

The first option deals with immediate growth in the area and would raise the fire district's tax rate by 4 cents to 33.71 cents per $100 assessed valuation and would pay for two additional firefighter/emergency medical technicians.

The second option would increase the rate by 11 cents and would pay for nine additional people.

The final option pays for 22 additional people and would increase the rate by 20 cents per $100 assessed valuation.

The present overlapping tax rate in central Lyon County is $2.743 per $100 assessed valuation. That includes both the school support and construction taxes.

Chief Bill Driscoll said that for the fire tax bond issue to be successful everyone with a stake in better fire service needs to be on board.

"This is a seed document," he said. "We are on a long path."

Driscoll recommended hiring a consultant to help survey people with a keen interest in the bond issue.

"My recommendation is that we move ahead and retain someone to do a study and determine what people want," Driscoll said. "We also need to define what we have today. I don't think people know."

Board members debated whether it wouldn't be better to pick a citizen's committee to work out some of the issues.

Commissioner Bob Milz told fire district officials he agreed there is a need but that the district needs to be prepared.

"You've done a wonderful job getting equipment, but there are not enough volunteers to drive the trucks and fire engines," he said. "Don't put something on the ballot that you know is going to fail."

Board member Norm Zuelke said Silver Springs growth will soon put a real strain on the district.

"With the increase in commercial and industrial growth, Silver Springs is going to go bonkers," Zuelke said.

He said many Silver Springs residents would like to see the 20-cent tax go through.

"At least for the time being, Silver Spring does a good job of covering nights and weekends," he said.

Board members voted to hire Jim Powell of All Clear Fire Training and Consulting for $2,000 to do a two-week work-up on the bond issue.


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