Las Vegas Sun

January 21, 2018

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Boulder City could see more uses for redevelopment money

Local schools, the Boulder City Library and residents whose homes need safety repairs could be the next to take advantage of redevelopment money.

The Redevelopment Agency could give money to Boulder City's four schools for teacher grants, if a bill being drafted by Assemblyman Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, passes.

The board also wants to consider reserving money for the library and for health and safety grants to residents whose homes need work. Those uses of RDA money would not require a change to state law.

Redevelopment Agency money comes from taxes on rising property values in the redevelopment district and is generally spent on removing blight and improving properties within the district. Boulder City's redevelopment district includes most of the town's commercial and industrial areas and two golf courses.

Hardy is drafting a bill for the legislative session that convenes Feb. 2 that would broaden the uses of RDA money.

"The bottom line is to take money and buy buildings," Hardy said. "But if we've bought all the buildings we need, why don't we have the opportunity to have RDA be used for putting money back into education?"

Hardy said if the bill passed, the agency could give money to the Boulder City Education Foundation, which provides grants to teachers.

He said the bill should be drafted in about a month.

Mayor Roger Tobler said he'd like to be allowed to give RDA capital improvement money to the library, which essentially loses tax money to RDA. Once the redevelopment district was put into place, growth in library tax revenue from higher valuations on properties stopped.

The Redevelopment Agency board, made of the City Council, decided last week to consider removing undeveloped land planned for homes by the Boulder Creek Golf Club from the RDA tax district in July, after the legislative session is done.

If homes were built on the land in question, all of the property tax revenue would go to the RDA instead of to schools and the library, Tobler said.

Councilman Travis Chandler said two ballot questions asking to sell the residential lots by Boulder Creek may have failed because voters objected to the tax structure. If the city wants to ask voters again, it should consider changing where the tax money will go, he said. The question could go to voters again as soon as November 2010.

In another possible change, the board in July plans to consider creating a different RDA tax zone to fund health and safety grants for homeowners to fix hazards and code violations in aging houses.

Currently, RDA money can only benefit commercial properties, according to city guidelines.

Strickland called the change her "pet project," and said the community at large should benefit from RDA money, especially those who need it most.

Tobler said he was concerned the RDA would have enough money for a new grant program and about choosing the neediest among applicants. He also said the grants would "do nothing for economic vitality."

Chandler noted improvements to homes could increase property values for the city.

Cassie Tomlin can be reached at 948-2073 or [email protected].

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