Opponents have successfully stopped a city of Las Vegas effort to absorb 872 acres of unincorporated Clark County land.
The number of protests to the annexation proposal soared past the minimum threshold to force a stop to the process.
“We really got in there and made the statutes work for us,” said Barb Clark, whose property was slated to be annexed. “I believe they never thought we would. I think they underestimated us.”
Of the more than 1,500 properties city officials wanted to bring into the city’s boundaries, 77 percent of property owners protested, representing 78 percent of the assessed value of the entire area, city spokesman Jace Radke said.
At least 50 percent needed to protest to stop the process.
After learning their properties were being eyed for annexation, a group of Clark County residents mounted a coordinated effort with neighbors to push back against the plans. Opponents turned out en masse to a February public hearing, where they said they didn’t need city services, didn’t want to pay extra taxes and worried they would need to give up some of their animals to come into compliance with city code.
If annexation had been completed, residents would have seen property tax increases of about $143 per $100,000 of assessed value, according to city estimates.
Annexations have caused rifts between Las Vegas and Clark County in the past. Some sizable areas of unincorporated Clark County “islands” sit inside the Las Vegas boundaries, and officials have argued that county residents use city services and are subsidized by city taxpayers.
“People are realizing that right across the street, their neighbors are getting the same services and paying less money for the same services,” Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Coffin said. “That’s the rub.”
Opponents said this week they delivered more than 1,200 protests to City Hall before the Tuesday deadline. Now, they plan to take the fight to the state level when the Nevada Legislature convenes in 2019. The property owners want a rural preservation designation to prevent future annexation attempts, said Tricia Pintar, whose property was part of the Las Vegas annexation proposal.
“I think the residents deserve the credit,” Clark County Commissioner Larry Brown said. “Some put in hundreds of hours of work to demonstrate they didn’t want to be annexed into the city.”
The process highlighted how “cumbersome” it is for residents to oppose annexations, Brown said.
“One-hundred percent of the burden is placed on the resident to meet the state’s criteria,” Brown said. “Maybe the burden should shift to a public agency.”