Nevada’s low property tax rate pushing Sparks to grow its borders to sustain services

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 9:38 PM PDT
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SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) - Land is running out in the City of Sparks.

Mayor Ed Lawson says contractors are on track to build over the last open plot of land in five years.

This outcome would result in the City slowly crumbling.

Five years after a home is constructed, the City of Sparks takes in less money in property taxes on that home than it needs to provide services for the people in the home.

”Your thoughts on that?” asked KOLO 8 Evening Anchor, Noah Bond.

“I’d like to see something else. I’d sure like to see a different way of doing things, but we don’t have control of that at the local level,” Mayor Lawson replied.

The low property tax rates driving growth is set by State lawmakers in Carson City.

Nevadans pay a discounted property tax rate of 35 percent the full rate and it can drop by 1.5 percent a year with depreciation until a discounted rate of 25 percent is reached on the property and property taxes can only grow 1.5 percent a year.

The rate does not increase when a new owner buys a property because it’s based on the age of the home no matter how many different owners it may have. The only way to increase a property tax rate is to buy new construction and even then it starts at the discounted rate.

Senator Julia Ratti’s proposal to raise property taxes, which could ease growth, was rejected.

Mayor Lawson says growth is the only option to sustain City services until the property tax rate in Nevada increases.

”We are full. I mean literally. This is all we have to build out at this point,” Mayor Ed Lawson said, pointing to a section on a City map southeast of La Posada Drive and Pyramid Highway.

Sparks City leaders say they’re pursuing two main options to continue growing the City.

One is to grow vertically like you can see in the New Victorian Square north of the Nugget Resort Casino.

The second option is to grow horizontally by expanding the City’s boundaries.

”We’re talking about moving the border all the way over to USA Parkway,” Mayor Lawson said.

”When are you looking at doing this?” Bond.

”As soon as possible. We’re in dire need obviously in Sparks,” Mayor Lawson.

This area Mayor Lawson is talking about is owned by the federal government and a large area in the middle of this land contains Native American petroglyphs.

”We’re not going to build in that area,” Mayor Lawson said.

Sparks leaders say they’re planning to build a road through this federal land.

”It comes from La Posada over to USA Parkway,” Mayor Lawson said.

This basically cuts the commute in half for the northern section of Sparks,” Mayor Lawson said.

A bill to grow the borders and seek funding to build the connector from La Posada Parkway to U.S.A. Parkway is on track to go before the U.S. Congress in five to six months in February 2022.

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