Home>Articles>$70K Temporary Poem Along Truckee River Raises Questions

Chalk Art on Reno street along Truckee River (Photo: Credit Eric Marks, This Is Reno)

$70K Temporary Poem Along Truckee River Raises Questions

‘Confluence’ is expected to last several weeks depending on weather conditions

By Megan Barth, December 3, 2023 1:03 pm

A temporary art project along the Truckee River, funded in part by the Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation, City of Reno, Washoe County, and Nevada Humanities, was designed to raise questions.

One question we have is why a temporary, mile-long poem (that costs $70,000) is necessary?

Nevada Policy also raises and answers the following question:

This Is Reno provides the initial background on the costly “Confluence”:

Titled “Confluence: Stream Science, Handwriting, and Urban Curbs,” the 4,000-word poem is a project by Todd Gilens, a Bay Area visual artist who first had the idea in 2014.

The portioned themes of the composition are based on water, land, science and seasonal motifs and are “expressed in rhythmic prose,” which is meant to be read while walking, according to the artist.

Installation of the project wrapped up early Friday, and the paint is expected to last several weeks, depending on weather conditions.

Arts and Culture Manager for the City of Reno, Megan Berner told This is Reno: “I like that it engages people while they are walking, It engages them with their environment differently; they might not know what they are looking at. Then they have questions about that…”

If, God forbid, a pedestrian is distracted by “Confluence,” he might get a closer look at the temporary scrawl if he trips over the cracks in the neglected, uneven sidewalk. (see below).

City of Reno sidewalk shows signs of neglect and disrepair (Photo Credit: This is Reno)

The City of Reno can’t find the funds or the will to repair a neglected sidewalk, but the bureaucrats can find the funds to temporarily paint it.

Residents of Reno should be additionally concerned as they, and the Washoe County School District (WCSD), are facing an additional Storm Water Utility tax proposed by the City Council. The average fee per homeowner would be an initial $13.49 per month. The tax is subject to automatic, annual increases based on the Consumer Price Index and provides no cap.

Should the Reno City Council approves this tax, residents and businesses in Damonte Ranch would be subject to two taxes per month for sewer infrastructure.

WCSD has outlined the significant tax burden the school district would realize. WCSD operates 54 facilities and would be subject to an additional, annual tax of $575,000 or the “annual salary of approximately 10 school teachers.” The annual tax increases tied to CPI would cost the district $6.3 million over 10 years

The Nevada Legislature easily found over $100 million to fund politically-connected nonprofits and yet, as reported by The Globe, proposed tax hikes consumed the Democrat-led Nevada legislature.

The Democratic majority had proposed legislation Senate Bill 96. to eliminate the property tax cap. If eliminated, property taxes could double.

According to the Nevada Policy: “Among reasons the 3 percent cap was put in place years ago was to prevent individuals, particularly retirees and those on fixed incomes, from being priced out of their homes by skyrocketing property tax rates. In addition Nevada has a billion-dollar surplus and does not need to raise taxes.”

Senators Dallas Harris and Melanie Scheible had sponsored yet another tax bill. Senate Bill 318 would allow cities to impose a $25 annual sewer tax that would fund homeless/indigent services and housing.

Neither bill passed during his legislative session, but will likely appear during the next session.

If the Democrats hold their supermajority in the Assembly and gain one seat in the Senate, they will have a veto-proof supermajority in the 2025 legislative session. Should that happen, Nevadans should prepare, at minimum, for an increase in fees and taxes on property, utilities, insurance, and internet purchases.

According to the Institute for Policy Innovation, the total U.S. tax burden including federal, state and local taxes and hidden taxes is equal to 56 percent of annual personal consumption spending.

Which  begs another question: when a household is spending over half its income on government, perhaps the size of the government is the problem?

At an inflationary time, caused by reckless government spending, this temporary and costly poem should raise many questions and will likely be remembered by financially-strapped taxpayers long after the winter weather has washed away the artwork.



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Megan Barth
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