weather icon Clear

Clark County to repay $4.1M to Laughlin property owners

Updated February 21, 2018 - 6:32 pm

Clark County will refund Laughlin property owners as much as $4.1 million in assessment fees starting next month.

Nearly 1,600 property owners are eligible to claim excess money the county collected to fund infrastructure improvements in and around the town, according to the Laughlin Economic Development Corporation.

County commissioners voted Tuesday to repay owners of properties located inside three Special Improvement Districts. Whoever owned the property on Jan. 17 can request repayment from March 1 through April 30. Unclaimed money will be kept by the county.

Eligible property owners will be mailed claim forms starting March 1.

The refunds represent closure on transportation and flood control projects that began in the mid-1990s, said Bob Bilbray, a property owner and Laughlin EDC strategic development adviser.

“I’m the only surviving member of any of these (Special Improvement Districts),” Bilbray told commissioners Tuesday. “I’m now dealing with the kids and the grandkids and the great-grandkids of those who contributed to making this day possible. What we’re talking about here is multi-generational obligations.”

The county paid upfront for the infrastructure projects by issuing bonds. Property owners in Laughlin’s Special Improvement Districts then paid the county the cost of the bonds and accrued interest over the span of several years.

But while the county finished collecting the bulk of the money in 2015, in one case nearly $115,000 lingered in a Special Improvement District fund that’s been dormant since 2005. That drew concern from both Bilbray and some county commissioners.

“It’s intolerable for us to hang on to people’s money that they’ve paid in one of these Special Improvement Districts for any longer than we must,” Commissioner Jim Gibson said. “Twelve years is way too long.”

County CFO Jessica Colvin said the long wait was due to county staff wanting to distribute refunds for all three Special Improvement Districts at the same time. When the initiative formally began last March it took time to find the property owners and figure out how to pay back the money in the most equitable fashion. Property owners are entitled to any interest the money generated while they waited.

Despite those explanations, County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak said what happened in Laughlin demands that the county be more efficient.

“It’s not just the dollar amount, which is significant. … It’s incumbent upon us to be as prompt as we can in determining when that project is done, refunding the money and rebating the money to the people,” Sisolak said.

At Sisolak’s request, Colvin said she would gather specifics on how many more dormant Special Improvement Districts owe refunds to property owners. She said that there are only “a handful more” and dispersing refunds would be faster in the future.

“I think we’re to the point now where we’re almost current and going forward there’s a process in place,” Colvin said.

Still, Bilbray said there need to be guarantees what happened in Laughlin won’t happen again. State law doesn’t stipulate how quickly refunds must be offered to property owners once Special Improvement Districts finish collecting money.

Bilbray said he hopes to work with the Nevada Taxpayers Association and county treasurers to bring change to the law during Nevada’s next legislative session in 2019.

“There needs to be a tightening of the closing deadlines,” Bilbray said. “Once those bonds are paid off, and the final costs are summarized, there should be a timeline that’s reasonable.”

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at sdavidson@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Bernie Sanders Unveils Affordable Housing Plan - Video
Bernie Sanders sits down with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to talk about his new affordable housing plan he unveiled at Plumbers & Pipefitters.
Jim Marchant talks gun control and Dreamers - Video
Republican Candidate for District 4 Jim Marchant talks about gun control and immigration policies. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hurricanes, Gender, and Science in the Press
Imagine if the mainstream media’s current hurricane-sized obsession with scientific accuracy applied to gender.
Cory Booker on college tuition and minimum wage
Cory Booker talks on the RJ Politics podcast about college debt, informing workers about their rights and livable wages.
Nevada Politics Today: Teacher raises - VIDEO
Jason Goudie, the chief financial officer for the Clark County School District, talks about teacher pay and raises. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.