School Repair Taxes Could be Decided by Commissioners

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RENO -- The legislative session may have some to an end, but whether a bill aimed at repairing local schools will be signed is unknown. The measure advanced to Governor Brian Sandoval's desk the final day of the session. Sandoval has ten days to consider bills he receives following the close of the session.

"I'm very confident he's going to sign it we met with his office several times and so I feel confident he is going to sign it," Superintendent Pedro Martinez said.

The much-discussed bill originally raised both sales and property taxes in Washoe County to fund school repairs. However, in order to garner enough votes to clear the legislature, supporters amended the bill to empower Washoe County commissioners to make the tax hike decision. Four out of five commissioners would have to approve of the tax increase to improve school facilities.

"I know Nevada is a very hard state to pass a tax in so I know it's always going to be an uphill battle," Martinez said.

Washoe County Assistant District Attorney Paul Lipparelli said, assuming the bill gets Sandoval's approval and commissioners sign off on the idea, the tax increases would take effect in July of next year.

A spokesperson for the Washoe County Commission said commissioners have not taken a stance on the issue so far. She said they want to hear from constituents on the issue. Lipparelli said several public meetings would be held before any decision would be made.

Sandoval opposed the bill as it was originally written. He has said he does not believe tax increases are needed at this time to support schools. However, education advocates argue Washoe County receives less for school repairs relative to other counties in Nevada. It is unknown whether Sandoval will support the amended version of the bill. An e-mail to his office was not returned by deadline.

A study released by supporters of the proposal showed the tax increases may cost the average Washoe County resident eight dollars per month.