Reno, NV. Residents and taxpayers of the Sierra Fire Protection District and Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District (together, the “Districts”) filed a complaint today with the Nevada Tax Commission and State Department of Taxation alleging mismanagement and misappropriation of funds for fire services provided by the Districts to the City of Reno. The Districts are located in unincorporated areas adjacent to the Reno city limits. Unlike property owners within the City of Reno, property owners in the Districts pay real estate taxes that are required to be spent exclusively on fire and emergency medical services benefitting the Districts’ residents.
The complaint estimates that $9.5 million of District taxes have benefited Reno in the form of ‘free’ fire services with no reciprocal services from the City. The complaint states this practice has been exacerbated by Reno’s historical and continuing annexation of District land without the City constructing, equipping and staffing any new fire stations. As a result, this forces the Districts to respond to the calls in those annexed areas due to “automatic aid” agreements, for which the Districts are almost never reimbursed. Further, Reno’s continuous closure of five of its own fire stations, all at the perimeter of the City, has caused excessive responses by District units to those areas of the City without any additional compensation to the Districts.
“When District units are busy responding to calls within the City, District residents are left without protection,” said Bob Parker, a resident of Sierra Fire Protection District and a signer of the complaint. ”It is only a matter of time before a District resident’s house burns down as a result of empty District stations. We are tired of paying for services for Reno residents. If Reno’s Mayor and City Council want to fund non-essential services rather than public safety, that’s their business; but don’t expect District residents to cover for the negligence of Reno officials,” Parker continued.
The residents seek an investigation and report by the State Department of Taxation to be followed by appropriate corrective action.