Redevelopment Agency hires counsel, voting to move forward with filing lawsuit

CITY OF RENO NEWS RELEASE

The Reno Redevelopment Agency has voted to hire special counsel and move forward with filing a lawsuit against the Washoe County treasurer, et al., regarding the allocation of property taxes to the Redevelopment Agency.

The Redevelopment Agency selected to hire Fahrendorf, Viloria, Oliphant & Oster LLP, with an initial litigation budget of $100,000. Funding would come from the city of Reno’s stabilization fund with a mechanism in place for reimbursement.

On Aug. 31, the state of Nevada’s attorney general’s office issued the written legal opinion that the Redevelopment Agency was entitled to receive at least $2.7 million dollars per year pursuant to NRS 279.676(3), which reads: “[t]he taxing agencies shall continue to pay to a redevelopment agency any amount which was being paid before July 1, 1987, and in anticipation of which the agency became obligated before July 1, 1987, to repay any bond, loan, money advanced or any other indebtedness, whether funded, refunded, assumed or otherwise incurred.”

After receiving the attorney general’s legal opinion, on Oct. 4, the agency issued a demand letter to Washoe County for payment. On Oct. 14, the Washoe County district attorney’s office issued a written legal opinion that conflicted with the attorney general’s opinion. In the opinion of the district attorney, the Redevelopment Agency is entitled to receive an amount substantially less than $2.7 million dollars per year pursuant to NRS 279.676(3).

The Washoe County treasurer has indicated she intends to follow the district attorney’s opinion. The Department of Taxation has indicated that they have no ability to compel the county to comply with the attorney general’s opinion.

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Once the amount owed to the Redevelopment Agency is determined, the funds would come from Washoe County, the Washoe County School District, the city of Reno and the state of Nevada.

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