By Nicole Barde
Each community has $10,000 to be spent ASAP! Pat Whitten granted the Highlands its $10,000 in community “grant” money and said no other community asked for it. Did you know you could get $10,000? GO GET IT.
10 Acre Association Annual Meeting, June 6, 2015
I attended the 10 acre association annual meeting on Saturday June 6th where the usual BOD business and updates by our county government occurred. Of particular note were Pat Whitten’s comments about the $10,000 request to the County for crack sealing on Cartwright made by both the 10 and 1 acre associations. Pat Whitten gave a brief intro to the $10,000 community grant by reminding us that it was created by Bill Sjovangen for each community to use as they wished. Then Pat Whitten commended the Boards of both Associations for getting together on this request and said that no other community requested the $10,000 grant funding available to them. That was interesting to me since I don’t think the other communities knew they could ask for the “grant” funds.
Additionally, Pat Whitten also told the 10 Acre Board that there is money in the county budget for next year so don’t forget about asking for that as well. Interesting again since I had specifically asked for money for the Highlands in the April 7 2015 budget meeting and was essentially told no, so…….apparently there wasn’t any grant money in the budget at that time. Now it just shows up. Hooray!
Here is some history on the community grant:
In 2013 several of us, Dave Thomas, Karlyn McPartlin and Gunther Prosser were after the County to provide us with an accounting of the park fund monies. Each community had contributed to that fund for their local community park over these many, many years. To make a very long story short the County didn’t want to give us those funds either because they hadn’t kept them in a separate fund as required by NRS and so didn’t know how much to give us , didn’t want to waste manpower figuring it out , or they didn’t want to part with the money, or all of the above. After several attempts to get the funds accounted for in 2013 so that we could use them we were told in the January 21, 2014 Storey County Commission (SSC) meeting by Bill Sjovangen, “We’re just going to do away with it and put in a grants program for it. If you had $100,000 in your parks fund you’re still not going to get it.” Instead of the County going after park funds that “don’t exist” he announced a $40,000 per year grant, $10,000 per community, from the County to each community to spend as they wish. If they wanted to spend it on the parks OK.
To me it looked as if this was the County’s way of getting us “off” the park funds pursuit and getting us to accept a much lesser amount instead.
At the 2/18/2014 SCC meeting the community grant program was communicated thru an agenda item and nothing was mentioned after that. At the 1/05/2015 SCC meeting Pat Whitten told me that there were legal issues with doing it and that DAs Langer and Maddox would have to look into it but it would probably be a line item in the 2016 budget. So the take away for me was …not happening until reviewed and we have heard nothing on the review. So when Pat Whitten told the 10 acre board on June 6th that the funds were available for this year and next I was surprised, very surprised. I don’t think it was communicated to the other communities that there were funds available in this year’s budget and next. It looked like they would miss out on this year’s funding so I sent them an email suggesting that they make a request ASAP.
Flash forward to today… after being told that the park fund records were lost, that some other official screwed up, that “I wasn’t even here when that happened” people persisted on getting an accounting of the park funds. This has resulted in the county finally agreeing to an amount that corresponds with what we believe to be right.
To give you some perspective, Sjovangen once told us that there was only $6000 in the fund for all communities…after persistent requests by Dave, Karlyn and Gunther the Highlands alone has approximately $74,000 in its park fund. Other communities have proportionate amounts . THAT’S what holding them accountable gets you!
I am grateful that there is some money coming to the Highlands from the County but that does not make up for the lack of Highlands infrastructure projects on the 2016 infrastructure list and the lack of community funding for the Highlands in the Community Services budget. See the Infrastructure article in “So what’s going on” for the detail.
Just as the creation of the $40,000 in grants was made to deny us the park funds and get us to settle for a much smaller amount than what was owed to us, I feel that the $10,000 grant , for the Highlands at least, is the County’s way of giving us something in order to give us nothing. We need to press for a share of the infrastructure fund and other monies to help us and possibly Mark Twain address solving our water issues.
It’s election season, we need to write down and remember what is promised and hold county management accountable for it.