Nevada court upholds property tax question


The Nevada Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a November ballot question seeking a property tax increase to help the Clark County School District renovate aging campuses.

Undeterred by the high court ruling, officials at the Nevada Policy Research Institute said they plan to go back to District Court and move forward with their case that county officials violated an open meeting law during the process to approve the ballot question.

It was unclear how far the case will go, however, because District Judge Valorie Vega already has found the institute's case lacked merit to stop the question from being printed on the November ballot.

"They're grasping at straws," said the district's lawyer, Dan Polsenberg.

Polsenberg has filed two motions to dismiss the institute's case.

The motions are set for a hearing before Vega on Oct. 8.

If the case does move forward and if the institute is able to prove an open meeting law violation occurred, the November election results for the ballot question would be irrelevant.

The Nevada Policy Research Institute, a nonprofit conservative think tank based in Las Vegas, has argued that the public was not given a chance to comment before a vote on the ballot question was taken at the June 7 meeting of the Regional Debt Management Commission.

"As we've seen in the case, elected officials will twist and ignore the law unless they are held accountable," the Nevada Policy Research Institute's lawyer, Joseph Becker, said in a statement.

Polsenberg has called the institute's arguments "disingenuous" and its case a "sham."

Polsenberg told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that three people at the meeting, including the chairwoman, Clark County Commissioner Susan Brager, gave sworn affidavits saying public comment was sought.

But no one spoke up.

The Regional Debt Management Commission also remedied any potential problem by seeking public comment at an Aug. 23 meeting, Polsenberg said.

The ballot question passed again at that meeting, he said.

The Clark County School District wants the tax increase to produce a maximum of $120 million a year for six years to renovate and build schools and buy equipment.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039.

 

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