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Lincoln, NID tax-share back to drawing board

City Council asks for better deal
By: Steve Archer, Reporter
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Action on a tax-sharing agreement with the Nevada Irrigation District, part of a deal to provide water to some of the Village I area recently annexed into Lincoln, was delayed Tuesday night by the City Council.

All of the Village I area is inside the NID service area, according to Lincoln’s community development director Matt Wheeler. The tax-sharing agreement is part of negotiations to bring so-called exclusionary zones, areas that in years past did not agree to water service from NID, into the water district’s service area.

“Staff and myself met with NID and this is the typical agreement NID has negotiated,” Wheeler said Tuesday. “It is problematic for us to serve (exclusionary zones) with water.”

Wheeler added there are exclusionary zones throughout the NID’s service areas and the water supplier is seeking to annex the zones throughout Placer County. According to a report by Wheeler, the exclusion areas have historically not been assessed property taxes for water service.

The deal negotiated by Wheeler would reapportion 25 percent of the tax increments, of the annexed exclusion area, to NID.  The base year property values and tax revenues would remain with the city of Lincoln.

Lincoln Mayor Spencer Short said Placer County allowed Lincoln to annex land for the Village I project, one-fourth of which could not be serviced by water.

“I am annoyed by this,” Short said. “Placer County has some responsibility they need to bear. Basically, the county gave us something that doesn’t work.”

The city already does not receive enough property tax and giving up 25 percent, of neighborhoods likely to be filled with estate-type homes, would leave a substantial amount of money out of the city coffers, Spencer added.

“I’m surprised this was on the consent calendar,” Short said. “Why are we doing this without the county being involved? It is not uncommon for a couple of City councilmen and a couple of county supervisors to discuss something like this.”

Councilman Gabriel Hydrick agreed with Short.

“This caught me by surprise,” Hydrick said. “I don’t want to cause undo obstacles but I would like to understand this better.

“This is something I miss about the Public Utilities Commission,” Hydrick added. “This needed to be on our radar earlier.”

Councilman Peter Gilbert also seemed to indicate nostalgia for the city’s defunct committee system.

The Lincoln City Council did away with most of the city committees in January, replacing the committees with monthly workshop meetings of the council. The committees that remain include Parks and Recreation and Economic Development.

“Anything that would have been handled by the committees should automatically come to a council study session,” Gilbert said.

Long-time Lincoln resident Shirley Russell said citizen-committee system was useful.

“The committee system gave the citizens of Lincoln the ability to provide input,” Russell said.

Councilman Stan Nader said he was also concerned about the proposed tax-share agreement.

“It sounds like we are taking a step back in how we negotiate with the county,” Nader said. “I’m not sure we uncovered every opportunity to get a better deal.”

Short asked that the tax-sharing agreement come back to the council’s Dec. 13 meeting and that two separate meetings be scheduled: a meeting between two City Councilmen and two county supervisors and another meeting between two City Councilmen and two NID board members.

“We need a full economic analysis of what this means for the area,” Short said. “And we need two separate and distinct conversations that come from an understanding of both agencies and what they do.”