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Sales tax question headed to the ballot

Road conditions in the Pahrump Valley are a sore point for many drivers as well as a source of frustration for the crews dedicated to maintaining them but with only so many road dollars to go around, it can be hard to keep pace with the demand.

In an effort to increase the budget for road maintenance throughout the third largest county in the United States, Nye County commissioners have authorized the placement of a question on the 2024 general election ballot asking voters whether or not to approve a sales tax increase of one-quarter of one percent.

As it stands today, Nye County’s sales tax rate is 7.6%. Of that amount, one-quarter of a percent goes toward the construction, maintenance and repair of public roadways. If passed, the ballot measure would bring the Nye County sales tax rate to 7.85% with one-half of a percent of that dedicated to roads.

Nye County Public Works Director Tom Bolling explained that Nye County’s road-specific sales tax was created via Ordinance 111 in 1985. In 1993, Nevada law changed to raise the maximum rate allowed for a road sales tax to one-half of a percent but Nye County never adjusted its rate accordingly.

“This tax has been the same for 39 years,” Bolling emphasized. “While costs for road construction and maintenance have drastically increased and Nye County has adopted additional roadways… This increase will double the road fund for the construction, maintenance and repair of public roads. Our public roadways are in dire need of funding for maintenance.”

Bolling did some calculations based on the population and the amount of roads sales tax collected last year, reporting that residents would see an average increase per household of around $87 per year or around $7 per month.

“So what does that mean for the general consumer in Nye County? We’re going to have a $2.4 million increase in our revenues for our roadways, to be spent specifically on maintaining the roadways,” Bolling said.

Commissioner Frank Carbone made the motion to direct staff to prepare the ballot question, with a second from commissioner Bruce Jabbour. The motion passed with all in favor.

The sales tax increase ballot question is not to be confused with another measure voters will decide on this year, regarding a potential Nye County-specific diesel tax of five cents per gallon. That question will appear on the 2024 primary election ballot and is also aimed at increasing the local road budget.

Committees will need to be formed to create the arguments both for and against the sales tax question, details of which will be published at a later date.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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