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City Council Meeting Details

7/16/09 - First, I wanted to remind everyone that you can follow 'live' real-time updates from City Council meetings on Twitter or by watching the quick updates box on my home page, or by following me on Facebook

So this is more of a recap on the blurbs I reported on yesterday.

Downtown Post Office - After spending nearly a decade trying to figure out a way to acquire the downtown post office, the city council is now unsure if it can afford to go through with it. Citing maintenance costs of the building, funding gaps, and an extended deadline which states the post office has up to 9 years to vacate the building, most on the city council were hesitant. For Zadra, the numbers don't pencil in, and she was quite upset at Mark Lewis for providing 'half the story and incomplete numbers yet again' when it discussing the feasibility of the post office, remarking that both West Street market and the Fire Station went overbudget. She doubts the numbers presented to the council would be the 'true' numbers when the project moves forward. Dan Gustin, who is a big-time history buff, mentioned he'd love nothing more than this building to be in RDA's arsenal of redevelopment projects, but even he questioned the viability of it right now. They cautiously approve moving forward with the due diligence process, with the knowledge that they can easily back out of it before the September final deadline of committing to acquiring the post office. My gut feeling is this project isn't going to happen in its current form. Jessica Sferazza cast the dissenting vote. She felt that yeah, while the building would be cool to on, it's not blighted by any means, and is currently occupied and fully functioning. Aiazzi commented that any history buffs that like the idea of restoring the building back to its original condition, now would be the time to contact the city and consider donating or helping out with this purchase.

Bike Route Options - The entire council felt this was a good idea, and applauded Dan Gustin for working so hard with the RTC to come up with a real, viable plan, and directed staff to move forward with RTC to discuss options, funding, etc. Dan Gustin agreed to leave Riverside Drive as is, after receiving numerous emails and complaints regarding turning it into a one-way street. The council was VERY receptive of a roundabout either on Arlington and California Avenue, or Liberty and Arlington...but somewhere in that general area. Aiazzi suggested trying out temporary round-abouts similar to the Wells Avenue project. This item was heard much earlier in the meeting than expected...an RGJ article instructed everyone to show up in the evening portion, yet the item was heard before switching over to the Redevelopment Meeting so there were no public comments.

Reno-Sparks Gospel Mission - The City Council voted to allow Eldorado to demo the building and build a surface parking lot in its place. The total cost is around $346,000 and the City of Reno is to pay back half of that cost by 2010-ish, although it was hinted that payback date could be flexible. Aiazzi was against this plan, feeling that the City of Reno did not do enough to convey to the public the building was available for purchase. The City did not exactly go out of their way to inform the public this building was available. Aiazzi would have rather seen it occupied and operating then demo'd for a surface parking lot. Eventually the plan is to work with the Eldorado to build a full-size parking garage on the property and adjoining properties to the east. Building rules would require retail to occupy all sidewalk-fronting portions of the bottom-floor. However due to the economy the full size garage isn't in the cards right now. Aiazzi was the dissenting vote for this.

Kings Inn - No real news, except the city is eager to learn what the property owner intends to do with the property in the short term. Recent fire inspection reports were not ready for this city council meeting.

Star Bond Districts - The Reno City Council made their preponderance findings for the STAR Bonds, however a huge debate ensued regarding the wording of the letter of intent with the school districts. The debate surrounded particular wording in the document that stated that the developers would retain 75% of the sales tax revenue, and Council Members had an issue with this because they are the ones who decide how much money to ultimate distribute once it comes back to the city council at a later date. The developers and school board had come up with their own agreement which would double the percentage of money/sales tax forwarded to the School Districts from within the STAR Bond District...it's the equivalent of about 65% of the sales tax being retained by both developers instead of 75%, assuming the council allowed the full amount available. The City Deputy Attorney kept explaining that even though this wording was in the letter, it did not legally bind the council to agree to that 75% amount, and after about the 5th or 6th explanation it started making sense to the council why the letter of intent was phrased the way it was, particularly after talking directly with the School Board members who were present. The Council's main concern was making sure the schools were taken care of. After a two-hour debate, the findings required to be made by the council were made, and now it goes off to the Nevada Commission on Tourism and the Governor for approval. If it makes it through those two entities, it then comes back to the council, who will then create the STAR Bond districts. For the Baseball Freight House District, the Grant's Landing property and the police station were added as portions of the STAR Bond District, increasing the hope that our 1950's chic police station could be replaced in the coming years.

Fact Summary on Tessera STAR Bond District: The council made the following findings:
Project expected to break ground in 2010. Council accepted a fiscal impact analysis and market study on the
proposed Tessera Project District that shows the new District would have a positive fiscal impact.  Some highlights include:
a.    The project would generate an estimated $25 million from various revenue sources over 20 years.
b.    Would generate an estimated $159 million in property tax revenue over 20 years.
c.    Would generate an estimated $142 million in sales tax revenue over 20 years.
d.    Expected to create $72 million in sales tax revenue for the Cities of Reno and Sparks, Washoe County, Washoe County School District, State of Nevada, Special Districts and Enterprise Districts.
e.    Regional economic impact is estimated at $1.0 billion through the first full year of operation with regional employment impact estimated at 6,200 jobs, of which 3,400 will be permanent.
f.    Washoe County School District will receive a portion of the sales tax generated through the project that would be used for general structural improvements to schools located within the McCarran Boulevard
ring. 

Fact Summary on Baseball Freight House STAR Bond District: The council made the following findings:
Project expected to break ground next month.
a.    The project would generate an estimated $29.2 million from various revenue sources over 20 years.
b.    Would generate an estimated $183.9 million in property tax revenue over 20 years.
c.    Would generate an estimated $164.9 million in sales tax revenue over 20 years.
d.    Expected to create $80.5 million in sales tax revenue for the Cities of Reno and Sparks, Washoe County, Washoe County School District, State of Nevada, Special Districts and Enterprise Districts.
e.    Regional economic impact is estimated at $923 million through the first full year of operation with regional employment impact estimated at 5,700 jobs, of which 3,200 will be permanent.
f.    The Washoe County School District would receive a portion of the sales tax generated through the project that would be used for general structural improvements to schools located within the McCarran Boulevard
ring. 

 

Comments:

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Posted by: SmartBrander - 7/16/2009 1:52:14 PM
Wow Mike...what an awesome recap. I think we're really lucky to have you in our community doing this for us all. And you do it without any compensation - a true community service. You provide not only information, but a balanced forum for comments and discussion. And the people who comment here actually THINK before they post - unlike other media outlets in town. So... with this post, I'm suggesting to your readers to support downtownmakeover.com with some advertising banners on your site. We need to keep you going for all our benefit! (and no...I'm not a salesperson or are on commission...I just think you deserve it.)

Posted by: Andrew - 7/16/2009 2:08:38 PM
What was the controversy with the letter of intent you mentioned? It seems like a good thing if the school gets double.

Posted by: Jerry - 7/16/2009 6:02:58 PM
I saw the meeting. I found the post office section to be quite contentious. I don't think the city should buy the Reno Post Office, after hearing the funding gaps.

Posted by: Sarah - 7/19/2009 5:18:36 PM
I'm absolutely thrilled they are demolishing the mission and adjoining buildings. If only they could demolish the King's Inn too! Thanks for keeping the community posted.

Posted by: Paul - 7/23/2009 8:38:41 AM
It's great that they're getting rid of some ugly buildings downtown. Why don't they build some underground parking instead of more above ground parking garages? It seems like a waste of space to have a non-revenue generating spot when it could be an underground lot and they could put numerous things above it like they have in Portland.

 

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