A lawsuit was filed last week in Washoe County District Court concerning the Washoe County 1 sales tax increase ballot measure.
Jeffrey Church, a member of the Washoe County committee who is preparing the opposition and rebuttal for the actual ballot, filed the lawsuit on September 6th. A hearing is scheduled for October 21st at 10 a.m.
Church claims that the Washoe Registrar of Voters violated NRS 295.121 by appointing four members to the Pro Committee and only two members to the Opposed Committee placing them at a disadvantage. Church maintains the law requires three persons per committee and never more.
Church further maintains that the committees are, by law, appointed by the Board of County Commissioners in a public forum and that was never done.
Church says he notified the Registrar and legal staff of his concerns months ago in an effort to fix the alleged violations and properly get the measure on the ballot in time. Church hopes, with over two months to go, there may be time to fix the issue.
The ballot measure would permanently increase sales taxes by .54% to fund public school repairs and building. Nevada-wide sales tax is 6.85%. Current Washoe County is 7.725% and as proposed it would increase to 8.26%.
From Washoe County:
The 2015 Nevada Legislature mandated the Washoe County Board of County Commissioners to submit to Washoe County voters the recommendation of the Public Schools Overcrowding and Repair Needs Committee (SB 411). Washoe County School District Ballot Question (WC-1) will appear on the Nov. 8, 2016 General Election Ballot. A complaint has been made regarding the manner in which required committees were formed to write arguments for and against WC-1 by one of the members of one of the committees.
Pursuant to a resolution adopted on March 22, 2016, the Board of County Commissioners authorized the Washoe County Registrar of Voters to appoint members of the public who volunteered to participate in this process as contemplated by NRS 295.121. Volunteers on both committees began their work in late April.
Arguments for and against have been written and submitted. The two member committee opposing the question reached a stalemate on the rebuttal to the proponents’ argument. The stalemate persisted throughout several extensions of deadlines. Ultimately, the Registrar‘s looming deadlines for translation and printing forced the decision to move forward without a rebuttal to the proponent’s argument.
“As always, our goal is to be able to provide our voters with as much information as is available in order to help them make an informed decision when they go to vote,” said Washoe County Registrar of Voters Luanne Cutler.