Tax-wary residents call for vote on V&T sales tax

Gearing up to make a case for an eighth-cent sales tax increase, Mayor Marv Teixeira walked into a crowd of people least likely to agree - the Carson City Republican Central Committee.

Amid audible discontent from the largely anti-tax crowd, Teixeira played up the positives of the 19-mile Virginia & Truckee Railway restoration already under construction near Virginia City.

The stretch of rail, traversed by an old-style locomotive, will bring in tourists and jobs, Teixeira said. And tourists and jobs will create more sales tax revenue, which city officials say is becoming the most vital source of money for municipal services.

"If we don't diversify our revenue stream, we'll be walking a thin line," Teixeira said.

While a show of hands among the Republican faithful indicated support for the V&T, many couldn't abide the idea that Carson City may soon raise sales tax to pay for it.

"You are sticking your hand in my pocket without my permission, without my vote," Carson City resident Patricia Puchert proclaimed to a smattering of applause.

Several Republican committee members urged a scrapping of the .00125 sales tax increase until the next time Carson City voters could have a say at the ballot box - November 2006.

Teixeira and V&T Commission Chairman Bob Hadfield argued the project, estimated to cost $35 million, would stall indefinitely if momentum is lost now.

A $10 million federal grant is specifically designated for construction, Teixeira said, but no construction can be done in several areas until easements are purchased from private land owners. The more work that's done on the project, Hadfield said, the more likely property owners will hold out for a premium for their land, much of which is largely considered unfit for development.

"If we wait we're going to have to start all over again," Hadfield said.

Despite the crowd's sentiment that tax increases should be approved by voters, Teixeira said he will still take it to Carson City supervisors. It will be up to them, the mayor said, but he'll be pushing for it.

While people like amenities, they don't like taxes, Teixeira said, and if it had been left to voters, a gas tax paying for the freeway around Carson City's traffic-clogged main street would never have been passed "and we still wouldn't have it."

"This is going to do wonders for us and I'm going to put it before the board (of Carson City supervisors)."

The proposed sales tax increase would generate an estimated $1.25 million a year, which would be used to pay off a 30-year, $15 million bond.

The project has already received pledges of more than $20 million: $14.4 million in federal money, $1.5 million from the state of Nevada, an estimated $4.1 million from Carson City room taxes and $1.2 million so far from a quarter-cent sales tax in Storey County.

A plan for how to spend the sales tax money, which is required before the raise can be implemented, is scheduled for a vote by supervisors on Thursday. If the plan is approved the city would have to hold at least one more public hearing before taking the final vote.

-- Contact reporter Cory McConnell at or 881-1217.

If You Go

WHAT: Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting

WHEN: 8:30 a.m. Thursday

WHERE: Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.


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