John Engels for Douglas County Commissioner - District 2

Consider these key Thaler votes:

On Ludicrous Employee Contract Terms: Thaler's "Yes" was one of the essential four which approved unprecedented, not financially sound 5- and 7-year contracts with County employees.

  1. Using the 7-year contract as an example of the poor judgment shown by this vote, understand that it binds the County to fund guaranteed "raises" every year that add up to 36% ($13,000,000 more in employee costs) when compounded over the 7 years at an average annual increase of 4.5%. This is unsustainable. When asked how the County will be in a position to meet this responsibility, Thaler's response is to deny the math and call it "fake news."
  2. The ink had barely had time to dry, when it was discovered that the employee health care premiums would be going up. This increase, according to the contract just signed, should have come out of the employees' pockets, but Thaler, along with two other commissioners, chose to have the taxpayers pay it instead. His comment: "I do support this. Not because it's anything other than the right thing to do." So how does Thaler see the money that the County collects as taxes? Not as taxpayer dollars, but as "government money" that can be spent any way that the BOC sees fit, which in this case turns out to be on more money and benefits for the County employees.

On Development and "Affordable" Housing: Thaler voted "Yes" every time a change in zoning from Commercial to Multi-Family Residential came before the Board of Commissioners (which occurs all too frequently). The "land use" element in the Master Plan to him is just a document written in pencil that can be readily modified. Thaler's record shows he is for rapid growth as well as low-income housing despite the call in the Master Plan to preserve the "rural character" of our County, and despite the fact that "growth does not pay for itself," especially low-income housing. Here's merely a sample of his troubling votes:

  1. In 2016, Thaler voted "Yes" on the Corley Ranch amendment (against the recommendation of the Planning Commission).
  2. Another prime example is his multi-family development "Yes" vote on September 18, 2017 concerning parcels located at the northwest corner of Ironwood Drive and Lucerne Street in Minden (also against the recommendation of the Planning Commission to deny the change).
  3. Most recently, Thaler voted "Yes" on the Hunter's Point development project.

On Infrastructure: Thaler voted "Yes" on NOT MAINTAINING a number of County roads, including many in dire need of maintenance in Topaz. He also voted "Yes" on the County going into debt to the tune of $11,600,000 to fix up five main County roads when the same fix could have been accomplished through a "pay-as-you-go" methodology of finance that would have meant a savings of $4,000,000 to County taxpayers. Perhaps even more significant, Thaler voted "No" on a motion that called for the County setting aside $8,000,000 from which money could be spent on infrastructure needs. (See "On Tax Increases" and "On Redevelopment Area #2" below for more on how infrastructure gets shorted).

On Tax Increases: In 2017, Thaler voted "Yes" on a 1% tax increase on the Transient Occupancy Tax. This tax was earmarked to fund feasibility studies having to do with providing "improvements" in Redevelopment Area #2 (the Casino corridor), including a year-round entertainment facility that is supposed to draw people in to patronize the hotels and gaming at the Lake. Therefore, in addition to making millions of dollars NOT available for the County to use to meet its serious infrastructure and schools' needs that currently aren't funded (see "On Redevelopment Area #2" below), Thaler facilitated even more money being spent on "gifts" to the wealthy casinos. About this vote Thaler remarked, "To my fellow colleagues - why wouldn't we vote for this?" and sadly three of his colleagues bought in. Notably, he also voted "Yes" on the 5% gas tax increase in 2016. Indeed, Thaler has never met a tax to burden taxpayers or bond to indebt the County he doesn't like.

On Redevelopment Area #2: Thaler agreed to the creation of this redevelopment area although the initial presentation showed the property tax revenues lost to the County (and thus made unavailable for providing needs that benefit the majority of residents in the County) would be a MASSIVE $47,200,000. New calculations indicate the amount may reach an ASTRONOMICAL $100,000,000 or more. These millions will, instead, be only available to the Redevelopment Authority to spend on "improvements" in the Casino corridor, beginning with providing the "special interest" casinos with a multi-million dollar Event Center at no financial risk to them. Remember the failed Connectivity scheme that Thaler favored? This giveaway to the Casino corridor is Connectivity on steroids. His attitude appears to be "I will starve the County of badly needed revenue while increasing taxpayer expenses regarding schools, public safety, and infrastructure at the lake because the Casino corridor takes precedence."


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