Redevelopment money sought to bond events center

Events center supporters seeking a $34.5 million pledge from Douglas County’s redevelopment area say the money is necessary if they’re to bond to build the $100 million project.

About half the money for the center will come from a $5 per night surcharge on Tahoe Township lodging approved by the 2019 Legislature.

“The Legislature did not provide us with an alternative funding source,” said Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority Director Carol Chaplin. “It provided us with the primary funding source, but that, without RDA 2, does not build the events center.”

NHA Advisors’ Mark Northcross broke down the issue for county commissioners at a presentation on the events center and its funding last week.

He said that the project is seeking a maximum of $1.3 million a year from redevelopment.

He said that one of the issues for bond investors will be the worst-case scenario for funding the $7 million threshold.

“If you look at the boom economy there’s more than $7 million, so why do you need the tax increment?” he said. “Bond investors are conservative and look at the worst possible case. The Great Recession and Indian gaming really hammered the casino core.”

He said revenues dropped to $5.8 million, below the $7 million threshold.

“From a standpoint of selling bonds for the events center, if something like the Great Recession repeated, this tax increment brings us up beyond the worst-case scenario.”

Northcross said that with the events center, the number of room nights in the Stateline casino core will go up, with actual revenues increasing $7-9 million. Without it, he said analysis showed annual revenue would decline by about $400,000.

Because the Stateline casinos are assessed based on their revenues, that means the less money they make, the less money is collected by the county.

“The bottom line is that this project has a positive fiscal impact on the county,” Northcross said.

Proponent Lew Feldman said Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority officials expect to present the center to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency at their meeting later this month.

Visitors Authority officials say they will present a request for a commitment to the center’s funding to Douglas County commissioners at their March meeting in Stateline.

“We are turning away business that would fill an events center because we don’t have the space,” Feldman said. “We knew that in the 2000s and we know that now.”

He pointed out that Heavenly Village was the result of a similar public-private partnership.

“You don’t have to go very far to see a public-private partnership,” he said. “Heavenly Village is a turn-around project.”

A five-acre site at Highway 50 and Loop Road is being donated by Edgewood that will establish the events center as an entryway to Stateline.

“We have a parking lot view we’re proposing to replace that if we move forward with Loop Road with a landscaped roundabout and a world-class architectural masterpiece,” Feldman said.

He said the center’s main business isn’t going to be giant events but corporate and association groups increasing its flexibility.

“We’ve created a lounge area that will be the kind of place where you can gather and meet your friends,” he said.

Redevelopment opponents say they’re close to having the necessary signatures to put the issue on the ballot in November.

However, there are concerns that if county commissioners commit the county to the funding proposal that it will render the petition moot.

Commissioner Dave Nelson is a longtime opponent of redevelopment and is supporting candidates Walt Nowosad and Mark Gardner. All three Republicans have filed for office. Larry Walsh is the only sitting commissioner who’s announced he will seek re-election. Walsh has been a supporter of the redevelopment area and funding the center, saying he believes its necessary for the county’s future prosperity.

Busy first day of filing in Douglas County

A dozen candidates filed for office before noon on the first day of filing, including three Republicans for Douglas County commission.

Mark Gardner and Walt Nowosad were both there when the Douglas County Clerk-Treasurer rolled up the windows.

Topaz Ranch Estates resident Gardner is challenging District 3 County Commissioner Larry Walsh of Ruhenstroth.

“As I’ve walked precincts within the county and listened to the voters, it has become abundantly clear that they feel the same way I do,” he said in a statement. “They share my concern of over-growth, a loss of our rural nature, a clogged Highway 395 through Gardnerville-Minden, and misplaced use of our precious and limited financial resources.”

Nowosad, who lives in Sunridge, is seeking County Commissioner Barry Penzel’s seat on the board.

A retired Navy chief, Nowosad said he supports a modified growth ordinance, he’s against Park’s 2,500 houses, and is not satisfied that we have enough water resources to support the current rate of growth.

Gardner and Nowosad are among the advocates on the current Park petition.

Commissioner Dave Nelson filed for re-election on Monday morning.

“I am eager to serve the people of Douglas County for another four years,” he said. “I have added a commissioner voice for the people to the Douglas Board of County Commissioners. This is the main reason I ran in 2016. I felt the board was ignoring the people. I have been able to achieve some of my goals, such as getting rid of RDA No. 1, using actual numbers for budgeting purposes, expending more money for much needed road repairs, and championing restrained growth.”

School board Trustees Carey Kangas and Linda Gilkerson filed for re-election on Monday. Zephyr Cove resident Larry Sidney filed for the School Board Area 3 seat held by Keith Byer. Minden resident Tony Magnotta filed for Area 1 seat being vacated by Karen Chessell, who has hit term limits.

Filing will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until March 13 at the Clerk’s Office.

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Tahoe couple receives prison in narcotics raid

A 61-year-old Lake Tahoe man, who prosecutors say was selling methamphetamine to make ends meet, received up to seven years in prison on Tuesday.

Timothy R. Hecox, 61, was arrested during a July 20 raid on his Stateline home along with Holly J. Anderson, 50, who was also sentenced on Tuesday.

Both admitted to two counts of trafficking in methamphetamine and psilocybin mushrooms.

Prosecutor Chelsea Mazza said Hecox was responsible for setting up the deals and meeting the buyer, while Anderson was present for most of the deals, including one instance where she had to unlock the apartment so the deal could occur.

Mazza agreed Anderson’s prison terms should be served at the same time, but argued in favor of setting Hecox’s sentences consecutively.

District Judge Tod Young said he didn’t see that Hecox was any more culpable in the case than Anderson and ordered both defendants to serve their terms concurrently.

Attorney Kris Brown said Hecox had no felonies on his record.

“He admitted he was doing this to make ends meet,” she said.

Attorney Andrew Bunn said Anderson had been forthright about her involvement.

“She’s essentially reached rock bottom,” Bunn said.

Under the sentences handed down on Tuesday, both would be eligible for probation after serving 32 months. They were given credit for 112 days time served.

Man gets 6 years for fleeing scene of wreck

A Lake Tahoe man was sentenced to 2-6 years in prison for leaving the scene of a three-vehicle accident causing substantial bodily harm.

William Carnes II, 38, admitted to fleeing the scene of an April 18 head-on collision on Kingsbury Grade.

Carnes was driving a red Hyundai that crossed the centerline and hit another vehicle head-on.

According to court documents, the license plate on the Hyundai belonged on a Subaru registered to Carnes and there was a document in the vehicle with his name on it.

Carnes later admitted he’d been drinking earlier that day and prosecutor Matthew Johnson produced photos of Carnes’ vehicle showing it was strewn with empty vodka bottles.

He managed to evade searchers until July 3 when he caused a commotion on Kingsbury Grade and he was taken into custody where his true identity was discovered.

Johnson said one person received a broken vertebra in the collision while another said he was traumatized by the incident.

Johnson tried to enter police reports from two felony DUI arrests for Carnes out of North Dakota and Montana, but District Judge Tod Young ruled that Carnes wasn’t being sentenced for those issues.

Carnes had been working in the North Dakota oil fields up until November 2018, which also happened to be when he was arrested for a fourth DUI. Up until that point he was making $12,000 a month.

Young said he didn’t assume Carnes was under the influence when the collision occurred or that he was guilty of the DUI accusations.

However, he did say that the crime itself was an indication that Carnes wouldn’t follow rules of probation.

“You fled the scene for some reason where someone was injured,” the judge said.