Tax Payer Funded Community Centers

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The City of Reno is considering a sales tax increase. It would finance a change in the way the Reno Police Department conducts business, and a whole lot more.

But our new police chief wants to take it further, into our neighborhoods and three community service centers were already in the making before he started on the job.

Our best current example is probably the Neil Road substation. It's not only a police sub-headquarters, it's also a community center, but the new community service centers would combine those features with fire stations and other things we need from city government--like the building permits and business licenses you now get in the City Annex, code enforcement, even what you need to pay a sewer bill. But three of these super centers would cost a lot of money. Land and construction costs are estimated at about 60-million dollars.

Reno Police chief Michael Poehlman says "It's hard to get Nordstrom service at K-Mart prices. Both good stores; I shop at both. There's not a Nordstrom's here, but I certainly have shopped at it. But a lot of people go there because they want a certain level of service, they know they're going to pay for it. People want more service from us in the city, police being a big part of that, fire another big part. Well, there's a cost for that. So the question is, are people willing to pay for that?"

On Thursday, city staff reported to the Council on how to pay for it all. A developer has offered to basically donate the south community service center to the city. The staff proposed a quarter-cent sales tax increase to pay for the rest. That would have to be approved by the county and the Legislature. But the taxpayers will get their say first. The Council plans to put the issue to a public vote next year. It would be another couple of years before the new centers would actually take shape.