Carson Perspective: New department proposed; would change really be free?

Moving deck chairs around on the Titanic, or getting ready for a more robust economic recovery? That is the question.

The answer, in those terms or others, will come from the Carson City Board of Supervisors as it considers whether to form a Community Development Department.

Such a department would involve folding city government’s Planning Division, Building Division, Business License Division, Code Enforcement Division and Office of Business Development, also referred to as redevelopment, into the new unit and removing them from the Public Works Department.

That’s on the agenda when the city’s governing board meets at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Community Center’s Sierra Room. The board meets Wednesday this week because Thursday is Independence Day.

Another group of high-profile agenda items involves whether the Redevelopment Authority/Board of Supervisors wants to cut an altered deal with Richard Campagni, a local car dealer, on his redevelopment incentive because Michael Hohl, another dealer, got a subsequent incentive.

The concept calls for selling or transferring land at 2443 S. Curry St., after appraisal and board consideration, to Campagni “for a parity concession.”

City Manager Larry Werner “believes there was a moral commitment made by the city that no other auto dealer would obtain a more competitive redevelopment incentive,” according to a city staff analysis. The analysis then provides the following expanded reason for the proposal:

“Because a reduction of Campagni’s existing redevelopment loan rate from 5 percent to 3 percent would create an unreasonable cash windfall to Campagni at the expense of the city’s general fund, staff believes the transfer of this unproductive improved land that is contiguous to Carson City Toyota to further economic development in the area would be in the best interests of the public, the Redevelopment Agency and the city.”

More on that after the meeting sheds additional light. Meanwhile, let’s go back to the Titanic, or the titanic recovery. Let’s be honest: no iceberg seems to loom.

But what hits a reader regarding the staff analysis in this case is that re-establishing a Community Development Department carries an assumption of no cost.

“Approval of this action will have no fiscal impact on the city,” the summary said. Yet in supporting documents, under an explanation for recommended board action, is the following:

“During the downturn in the economy, the Development Services Department was reduced and, in order to save costs, the Department became a division of the Public Works Department and (was) named the Planning Division. Since that time, the division expanded ...”

”Vellllllly intelesting,” as a character on that old TV show, “Hogan’s Heroes,” repeatedly said.


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