Letter: CC #1 — we got it on the ballot; now it's time to defeat it
Submitted by Carson Now Reader on Fri, 10/05/2012 - 12:23pm
Peter Hennessey, Ph.D.
From the Carson City sample ballot for the general election on November 6:
"Shall Carson City, Nevada, be authorized to impose an additional sales tax of up to ¼ of 1 percent pursuant to NRS Chapter 377A to finance the design, construction, and maintenance of a library and public plaza park in the downtown on lands donated by the Hop and Mae Adams Foundation?"
Where to begin....
1. Is this the entire text? Where is the legal language of this "Question," where are the final specifications for this much revised project, and where is the budget for its on-going staffing, operating, maintenance and upgrade costs? Can the Board pass the tax increase, and turn around and NOT use it for the Nugget project? We are asked to vote for something that is not specified or defined, not even referenced, so we'd know what we are voting on.
2. The Argument Advocating Passage claims there will be "105 high tech computers." Will that be iPads, laptops, Windows clones, Macintoshes, or UNIX workstations? "High tech computers" have a nasty habit of becoming totally obsolete every a few years, even if we assume they last forever and are never stolen or lost.
3. The Argument Advocating Passage claims there will be access to "specialized business databases." Surely you are not just talking about Google and Wikipedia... in which case, where is the budget to pay for the subscription fees? These databases cost a lot.
4. The Argument Advocating Passage claims there will be "assistance with housing, legal, tax and Medicare questions, instruction in new technology and a diverse lecture series will be available at no cost." Again, who will provide these services and where is the budget to pay for it?
5. The Argument Advocating Passage claims the new "library will be a safe, family-friendly place that offers after school and weekend programs ..." The only problem is the location; there are no schools or significant residential areas within walking distance. And again, the other problem is, where is the budget to pay for what obviously amounts to a municipal day care service?
6. Of course, all these Arguments Advocating Passage make it sound like NONE of these services exist today, that ALL of them are new and innovative, a long overdue step to finally bring Carson City from the 19th into the 21st century. What a crock. As the Rebuttal to Argument Advocating Passage states, ALL of these services exist already. Yes, the existing facilities are scattered all over town, but NOBODY ever proposed to MOVE or REPLACE them with the same or more services in ONE LOCATION such as the new library.
7. The Argument Advocating Passage claims this project is an "investment." If it WERE an investment, there would be a business plan identifying the source and amount of REVENUE it will generate, the amount of PROFIT it will generate, and the amount from that profit that will be allocated to retire the loans or bonds that were raised to fund the start-up costs. Does the Board intend to charge for the services they propose to offer in this new facility? The Argument Advocating Passage claims they do NOT. Then how will it generate a return on investment? Obviously, this project is NOT an investment in any sense, it is just another line item in the EXPENDITURE column of the city budget. Want proof? Here it is: The Description of Anticipated Financial Effect states that "Maintenance expenses of the Knowledge and Discovery Center library and public plaza park are currently expected to be paid from the Carson City general fund, ..." In other words, this will be just another excuse for MORE tax increases later.
8. And on that point, the final laugher in this looming boondoggle. Why, it will only cost another $25 per year per household...! Sorry, I for one am a retired senior living on a severely restricted income with rapidly shrinking purchasing power. If my situation is typical, our homes have lost 30% more of their value in just the past two years (about 65% since the peak in 2006), and still the good people on the Board of Supervisors raised our taxes by the maximum (and more) allowed by the NRS. No more of that, thank you. I have to pinch and squeeze, and squeeze again, every penny that passes out of my arthritic hands.
Yes, do show your civic pride in Carson City. Show some sense! Prove that at least in this one case we have still not been too californicated and we intend to maintain our traditional quaintness and charm.
NO ON CC#1.
Peter Hennessey, Ph.D.