FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SUNRISE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Mission statement. To found a semi-rural community, which is in harmony with the desert environment; and yet provides a safe and comfortable haven for residents while preserving the air, soil, water, and ecology of the territory, carrying on the traditions of the western era of history; and adding the benefits of modern systems of government.” (From the draft city charter)

Why Incorporate?

1. To enhance the quality of life for the residents of Sunrise.

2. To increase local control and accountability for decisions affecting the community through a locally elected City Council.   

3. To obtain local tax revenues for use in the community.

4. To promote cost-effective services tailored to the needs of local residents.

5. To increase opportunities for participation in civic and governmental activities and improve citizen access to local government.

6. To participate in decisions concerning growth.

How will Sunrise improve control of our destiny?First, it will have a charter clearly defining and limiting the powers of government  which is something that we do not have now. It will call for four wards with a Councilperson from each, and one ward with a councilperson elected at large The mayor will have some powers and not be just a ribbon-cutting figurehead. It will be up to the people to put good persons in office who exhibit predictable behavior.

How does incorporation improve access to local government?Currently, the town of Pahrump has five Town Board Members who represent 32,000 residents scattered over 300 square miles.   Nye County has five County Commissioners that represent the entire county.   The City of Sunrise will have five elected Councilmen, but they will represent only 13,000 citizens.  

How does incorporation improve local government’s responsiveness?County government has an obligation to balance the needs of all parts of the county.  This often leads to a “one size fits all” approach.  Sunrise is not a former mining town; it is a retirement haven and a bedroom community of Las Vegas. The needs of Sunrise are not always compatible with the needs of the rest of the county.

What impact will incorporation have on municipal services?Pahrump and Nye county will be relieved of providing services to the Sunrise area. They will all be controlled by the new city. In the beginning some services such as police and fire may be contracted for between the city and town or county, but eventually all will be under the city, except for the Assessor. These will be paid by taxes apportioned to the city by the state, which are expected to be sufficient to provide services, hopefully better than now provided.

Would Nye County  have control over the City of Sunrise?No, A city is a creation of the state as are counties and school districts. Cities are not subordinate to counties (Povolny 1981).

Would the city adopt the Master Plan recently adopted by Nye County for Pahrump? The city will have the power to accept zoning as planned by Tri-Core in whole, in part, or to adopt its own code. Since the city occupies the same territory as did Calvada south, much of the planning and zoning of that area’s developer. PEC, are already in place, such as areas for multi-family residences, commercial operations, streets, and population densities. One change that probably would continue is the re-designation of Highway 160 from residential to commercial or mixed use.

 Who will vote on the proposed incorporation of Sunrise?Only registered voters residing within the boundaries of the proposed city of Sunrise will be able to vote. This will be scheduled after the legislature passes a bill chartering the city as soon as possible after the Governor signs the bill.

What is the economic impact of incorporation?Business managers (and the stock market) hate uncertainty. If they survey the Pahrump Valley as it is now governed,  they will have no assurance of any stability. The Town Government has only 4 of the 27 powers that an established, chartered city could have. The County Seat is far away and in all of its years of existence has failed to attract major businesses to Pahrump. Sunrise is,  “A new beginning.”On a personal level if you are a property owner your values will be protected by virtue of having zoning restrictions which will encourage all owners to conform to community standards.

What will happen to properties now using wells and septic tanks?The city boundaries were laid out so as to include as much of the existing water and sewer facilities as possible to allay worries expressed in previous incorporation plans that massive assessments would be placed upon property owners some time in the future.More than half of the area of Sunrise already has or will have sewer and/or water utilities, because these are/were  required for lots of less than 1.25 acres. Nearly all of the remaining lots are exactly 1.25 acres, which are currently entitled to a well and septic tank. New developments already are required to provide water and sewer utilities. This is not to say that there will never be water problems in the valley, but the city government will have to develop a strategy to cope with water problems as they arise. This is another reason for a well run government which can cope with serious problems better than has been done in the past.

If I have a mobile home or manufactured home in the city area will I be forced to move? Existing mobile homes that comply with State and County regulations will have to be “grand fathered.” in by the city. It would be up to the Council, subject to public acceptance of any ordinances proposed, to regulate future siting of mobile homes

Will becoming a city impose CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions) on home owners?No, If there are any remaining CC&Rs within the city that have not expired when incorporation occurs, they run with the land, and their enforcement is a private matter within the area where these restrictions were written to apply. The city codes will be written in accordance with the draft Charter which is aimed to preserve the existing life style, the environment, and  not impose onerous restrictions on home owners and renters.

What effect will incorporation have on the Nye County School District?The incorporation of Sunrise will not affect the Nye County School district at all.  School districts are independent governing bodies with autonomous decision-making

Will the city regulate  types, numbers, or treatment of animals? The Charter prohibits such activities as cock fights and recreational dog fights. It will be up to the elected city council to impose other restrictions if state or county regulations are not sufficient. authority

How was the proposed name selected?   The process of documenting incorporation required the selection of a name other than Pahrump.  From a list of 25 potential names suggested by the initial Exploratory Committee and through democratic process of elimination, Sunrise was selected by consensus from the final group of five over Desert Crossing, Desert Springs, Palo Verde, and Sunset Peaks.The city will see much more growth and a name that will be attractive to both the present dwellers as well as the new arrivals is needed. The term sunrise symbolizes a new beginning like the sun rising every day.

Will Nye county be adversely affected?After the CPAs estimate the expense and income of Sunrise, it will show how much money Nye county will have to operate. Of course, the services provided by Sunrise will be correspondingly reduced from the county budget. Based upon preliminary figures, it appears that the county will continue to  obtain considerable revenue from taxes, and in the beginning the county will be paid by Sunrise for services shared such as planning, police and fire. Some revenues must remain with Nye county such as schools and social programs. After incorporation it will be the county’s responsibility to decide how the town of Pahrump will be managed.Sunrise will absorb, to the maximum extent possible, qualified county or town employees who may not be needed due to reduction in county services which Sunrise absorbs.

Will taxes be increased?There are three general types of taxes: property, consolidated and gasoline taxes for roads. Property taxes are usually less than half of the tax income to a city. Estimates of income from these sources has been turned over to a CPA firm to develop a city budget with the provision that property tax rates will remain the same as they are now and as limited by the State.The amount of tax that you pay on your property depends upon its assessed value which is outside the control of government. Property values are driven by the state of the economy.

In recent years your property tax has gone up because your property value has gone up. The consolidated tax is allocated by the State to the city by formula--mainly on the basis of population. The amount of this tax is not controlled by city government; it comes from the State.The road tax revenue is based upon mileage of roads in the Sunrise City area and has already been estimated for Sunrise by the Departments of Taxation and Transportation.We believe that with the assessed property valuation of Sunrise and the estimated population there will be no need to increase taxes--unless residents approve increases in order to obtain better amenities and benefits. We have examined the budgets of five other medium sized cities in Nevada operating under the same tax codes, approximately the same assessed value and population, and have found that they are solvent. These are Elko, Mesquite, Fallon, Fernley, and Boulder City.

What about flood control?The charter has provisions that Sunrise may engage in flood control, but this problem as identified by Tri-Core studies, is so massive that State and Federal assistance will be required for a long term solution. A stable city government with adequate power to act, is necessary for this effort to move forward.How were the city boundaries established? The following primary considerations were taken into account:Proximity of the proposed boundaries to existing infrastructure/utilities.Population density and assessed property values as they relate to establishing a solvent city.Proposed developments and future growth patterns. Manageable size (approximately 37 square miles).

Will the city be able to apply for grants that are not now available?According to advice of experienced city managers, a city is eligible for “a ton of grants” that an unincorporated city may not qualify to receive.

The same is true of Federal and private grants intended exclusively for cities. In some cases it is an advantage to be a small city with less than fifty thousand population. The city may be eligible for low-interest loans not now available.

When will we know what is in the city charter?A charter has been drafted and filed with the Legislative Council Bureaus Legal Office where it will be edited and revised to comply with good management practices and state law. Then it will be included with the BDR, and if that is passed, be a part of the law. This then will be a part of the ballot (along with the approved map) put up for approval by the citizens of Sunrise. This could be done as early as August 2005. Before a Bill Draft Request will be made to the legislature, a feasibility study will be completed showing that under the provisions of the proposed charter, the city can be managed with the human, environmental, and economic resources available.

Will mailing addresses be affected?Street addresses and zip codes will not change.  There will be a nine- to 12- month transition period for the new government to be formed during which there will be time for the change of name from Pahrump to Sunrise.

The Sunrise Cityhood Association, Inc. thanks you for reading our FAQs.