Reno Mayoral Candidates Talk Debt - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Reno Mayoral Candidates Talk Debt

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There seems to be no debate on the fact that Reno is in debt. Exactly how much and why is up for discussion though. And the Reno Mayoral candidates we recently invited to our studios had a lot to say about the situation and the solutions.

"Reno doesn't have a money problem," said Eddie Lorton. "Reno has a spending problem and if you go to the city council meetings you see the money flying out the door every time."

One of the biggest problems seems to be the growing debt service on health benefits for retiring employees. And on the debt service we pay on empty buildings in town.

"We need to get all of the city employees into the two-tiered system first....because that will stop the bleeding," said Robert Avery.
"Then we get serious about paying down the debt."

"I think we should pay down the highest interest debt first and then take that money go after the next one," said Tom Fitzgerald.

And while Reno has hit its legal property tax cap, some suggested making adjustments there.

"I think we need to reset the tax structure at the point of sale for new houses," said Delores Aiazzi.

"What we could do," said Erik Holland, "is create an urban growth section downtown. It would cut down on the developable property elsewhere and bring developers downtown where we can get them to build and we can get the tax revenues up."

"We do have a lot of empty buildings and I think the trick is in bring folks to town and fill them up. That way we don't have to raise taxes but we do raise revenues," said Ian Pasalich.

On the other hand, Chuck Reno sees those properties as more valuable as sold assets.

"It's almost like having really nice furniture and keeping it in storage shed," Reno said. "I mean if we aren't using them why not sell them off?"

"To do that would take going to the legislature," said Marsha Berkbigler. "And that's where you need a mayor who has experience in dealing with the legislature and how it works."

And when the discussion turned to growing the economy no one argued that bringing in businesses of all kinds was the answer.

"I think relaxing the restrictions and making this area more business friendly is the answer. It would bring more businesses here to employ more people," said Sean Burke.

"We should give the break to the local businesses. Those people have committed to this area and live here and go to our schools," said Idora Silver.

"You are all right," said Hillary Schieve. "It's all of that and anyone we can bring in."

"And whether it's high technology or small businesses from the east coast or from the south it's all of that that will help us," said Ken Stark.

"And don't forget our special events," added Ray Pezonella. "They are popular and we can use them to bring in more people and use that money to start paying all this back."

Written by Erin Breen
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