By Nicole Barde

First let me apologize for not having reported on the last Commission meeting, May 17th and the last VCTC meeting, May 19th.  I received a phone call to go back to California immediately to be with my mother before she passed on and so I was gone for that week. Things are all taken care of at this point. Thanks for the kind words of condolence.
Now…on to more routine matters…..

This week’s Commission Meeting Agenda was predominantly the 2016-2017 annual budget review and approval.

There were no staff updates.

During Board comments Commissioner Jack McGuffey reported that St. Mary’s has started a mattress drive and to call Erica, the Executive Director, for more information 561-339-4554. He noted that he had attended the V & T Commission board meeting where that budget was approved after having about $500k taken out for further discussion. The Rail Commission was basically relying on Storey County’s money for operations and that violated the current MOU. A new MOU will be drafted and then the budget augmented if it fits the terms and conditions of the new MOU.

Jack also reported that NACO is supporting the proposed gas tax hike but is not actively involved in backing the ballot measure.  There was a bit of discussion that if it passes it means revenues for Storey County from the truck stops within the county and that it would not affect our citizens directly.

     …actually it would since we all get gas somewhere…a statewide gas tax increase affects us all. Where is all the tax money going? Are we to expect a new tax or a tax increase of some kind every election cycle? If so just tell us now so we can sell everything and have the cash on hand to pay it…the government must need it more than we do…looks like no one is going to fight this or the other tax hikes in the works…but I digress……

Jack also mentioned that there is a NACO effort dubbed “Planning 2.0” to get BLM to allow the counties to decide what happens to the BLM land within their jurisdictions. This is in the proposal stages.

Next came the approval of the appraiser for the V and T Freight Depot across from the Silverland owned by Pierce Powell. Pierce was there and had some comments to make regarding his disappointment with the county’s past promises to him and the lack of follow thru on them. He was not clear as to the hang up with proceeding to purchase his property and was going to pursue other buyers.

Deputy DA Lumos stated that there were issues with the title and deed that needed to be cleared up before the county could proceed and any sale could happen.

On to the Budget. I have to say that this year’s process was very smooth as far as the completeness of the materials posted for the public and in Comptroller Hugh Gallagher’s narratives of each of the department’s budget issues. So, Kudos to Hugh and to Commissioner Lance Gilman as well for continuing to guide the county in a tight process. However, my problem with the budget still remains the continued deficit spending and lack of true ZBB prioritization. Hopefully these are the next areas for improvement.

Recall that the first iteration of the tentative 2016/2017 budget had revenues coming in 7.8% higher than the current budget, mostly due to charges for services related to Tesla which they are obligated to pay the county. If not for that, revenues are flat and Ad Valorem, which is 65% of the revenue budget, in particular is very flat. The final budget shows no revenue changes from the tentative budget and so revenues for the 2016/2017 budget stays at $13,518,824.

The vast majority of department budgets remained unaltered from their tentative budgets with a bit of expense movement from some department budgets to others. There were a few expenses which were pulled in to the current year. The VCTC budget was not touched and remained a deficit budget

The biggest change was to the Sheriffs budget.  The tentative budget came in 31% (~ $1 million) higher than the current year budget.  The final Sheriff’s budget came in at 8.1% (~$260k) higher with approximately $777k taken out of the tentative budget mostly in staffing and vehicles.

The final 2016/2017 County budget expenses were changed from a 21.4% increase over the current year to 13.1% increase over the current year.  Expenses went from $15,460,108 and a deficit of $1,941, 284 in the tentative budget to $14,408,660 and a deficit of $889,836 in the final. Still a deficit.

TRI payback increased the most over the current year at 66% higher, then Capital outlay at 35% higher, and salaries and benefits at a 15% increase over the current year.

Net-net……revenues have been basically flat for several years but expenses are climbing over the same period.  I asked about this during public comment and County Manager Pat Whitten replied that the expenses are being driven by several factors such as Tesla support, capital outlays and salaries. That although Tesla support is driving expenses that the Tesla agreement to offset those expenses is on track…i.e. Tesla is basically paying for all the support that the County gives it. I then asked if they had modeled the revenues and expenses over time going forward to see what the potential issues will be in a slowing economy and TRI build out. Pats response was that yes they have done projections based on conservative revenues and increasing expenses but he didn’t say what the conclusions were.

Additionally, I made the comment that Tesla and the other companies at TRI are getting an exceptional level of service from the county. Dean Haymore basically lives out there and the county has been lauded  for the speed with which they can operate to get things done. I noted that the county has set an extremely high bar for itself and that the levels of service expectations by those companies may exceed the county’s ability to continue  to provide it given flat to down revenues in the face of a slowing economy. Pat said that it was also a concern but that they have the ability to renegotiate the Tesla agreement if the service requirements exceed the dollar amount that Tesla has committed to pay. I noted that the other companies don’t have a similar agreement and may continue to expect the same service levels costing the county money with no offsets.

During the department budget reviews, Commission Chair Marshall McBride suggested that Commissioner Lance Gilman recuse himself from voting on both the TRI portion of the budget and the Sheriffs budget. TRI because Lance has a pecuniary interest in it and the Sheriffs budget because Lance, as a private citizen, is currently suing Sheriff Jerry Antinoro. Before the voting on the budget DA Langer asked to speak to Lance privately so Marshall called for a break. After the break, Lance said that upon advisement of the DA and in the interest of caution he would recuse himself from both budget items.  DA Langer then stated that her office would be contacting the Ethics Commission to determine what Lance’s involvement in the budget process should be given the current issues and that she will get an opinion on it.

…I found this rather odd. Why is Lance getting DA help and support on the personal and private legal issue he has with the Sheriff? Does the Sheriff get the same support from the DA’s office on Lance’s legal action against him? I don’t understand what the question to the Ethics commission would be. Meaning that if Lance is suing Jerry………does that not constitute a conflict and wouldn’t that result in Lance’s  recusal from voting on the Sheriffs budget? Period.  Amen. Where is the confusion? Seems pretty straight forward.

Anyway, the budget passed.

Agenda item #7 was “Worked card appeal/revocation hearing for Cheryl Ray”.

Yet another brothel worker who failed to properly complete her permit application. Net-net Sheriff Jerry followed the letter of the county Ordinance and denied the work card due to an incomplete/inaccurate application.  Apparently because much prior criminal/arrest history is being added to the national database every day….what may pass today won’t pass tomorrow. So if you forget to list an arrest in Florida 7 years ago it might not get flagged today….tomorrow Florida might have loaded that info and your application gets kicked back due to a missing arrest record. This inconsistency results in a denial based on the county Ordinance. The ordinance has a provision for appeal which is what is now happening on a routine basis. These workers just can’t seem to keep straight what their own history is.

The County has an ordinance that may be too restrictive. Either way it seems that Sheriff Jerry is just enforcing the law…if the Commissioners see enough of these cases maybe they will rewrite the ordinance….if not then these work permits will continue to get kicked back. What surprised me though was the memo (page 7 in the agenda packet) to Pat Whitten from Kris Thomson, Lance Gilman employee, saying that “This timing of this phone call leaves no doubt this is obvious retaliation.”  I can only assume Kris refers to Lance’s lawsuit against Jerry and the dismissal of the ethics violation complaint made by Jerry against Lance. Seems to me that if the Ordinance requires that the Sheriff deny the work permits for incomplete information based on the background check that to do otherwise would be a violation of the law so I don’t understand how it is retaliation.  Sheriff Jerry has been denying these work cards for quite a while and has always explained why, it’s always the same explanation.  Do Kris and Lance want the Ordinance to be ignored for them?  They can just propose a rewrite…so why not just do that and spare the Commission the repeated appeals from people who can’t seem to keep their facts straight….OR keep the Ordinance and keep denying the work cards till they get it right.

Another strange item was the inclusion of correspondence in the agenda packet ( page 203 ) from an un-named VC Highlands resident claiming that the Sheriff was harassing them and singling them out due to his “hatred of anyone who questions his opinions” referring to the death of Judy Black. This citizen was the one who asked Joe Hart to attend the community meeting in VCH on the Judy Black death last month. They described how a Sheriff’s deputy recently came to their house to inquire about their dog since it had been identified as possibly being the one who killed a neighbor’s llama. You can read the rest but I find this very odd since a full conversation about the loose black and white dog killing other animals in the Highlands occurred on the very public Highlands Blog, a reward by a neighbor was put forth, another person said they knew the dog and the owner and so it ended on the message board.

The Sheriff’s office was just responding to one of many complaints and it was filed by a Highlands resident…..the Sheriff Deputy didn’t just show up to single this person out and yet here we are……I mean…first being accused of retaliation for following an ordinance, then being accused of harassment for responding to a complaint made publically and doing his job Sheriff Jerry isn’t perfect but he should be nailed for the stuff he really does not imaginary made up things……I mean,………did Sheriff Jerry assassinate Marilyn Monroe as well?  Get a grip.

Oh well….I’m sure that one day it will be said that I am the one responsible for the farting cows in Texas and I’ll be run out of town on a rail.

Lastly and on another topic but related to all this……The Nevada Commission on Ethics  last month found that there was no violation of ethics on the part of Commissioner Lance Gilman as asserted in Sheriff Antinoro’s  complaint against Lance on ethics violations.  You can read the document HERE.  What was interesting to me was that although they cleared Lance of wrongdoing they also chided him and reminded all public officials about crossing the public/private line. Lance had used Board Comment time in the October 2014 Commission meeting to read a statement calling for Jerry’s censure. Since it was his private self that was being referred to in the Lockwood blog (and is the basis for his current lawsuit against Jerry) he should not have talked about it in the Commissioners meeting.. A small portion of the Ethics Committee “reminder” reads:

“Although the Commission finds no violation of the Ethics Law in this matter, the
Commission takes this opportunity for outreach and education to advise Gilman
and other similarly situated public officers regarding the implications of the
Ethics Law in the context of public statements made at public meetings. Public
officers should not make statements during the “Board Comment” or similar
agenda item reserved for official business to secure or grant unwarranted
privileges, preferences, exemptions or advantages for themselves, their
business interests, or persons to whom they have a commitment in a private
capacity. Such conduct violates NRS 281A.400(2). The clear intent of this
statute is to prohibit a public officer from acting in a manner which creates
unwarranted privileges, preferences or advantages for a personal interest. (In
re Public Officer, Comm’n Opinion No. 12-15A (2012))”

In another legal ruling concerning Lance Gilman HERE. The Nevada Supreme Court decided against his (Cash Asset Management-CAM) appeal to overturn a prior Courts ruling in favor of Tom Gonzales (TG Investments-TG I). Lance lost that case and was ordered to sell the Wild Horse brothel (now part of Mustang) and pay Tom Gonzales $1.9 million for breach of contract and a lack of good faith and fair dealing.  Lance appealed and the Supreme Court ruled against him. What was interesting to me was the following statement in the document:

“Further, the jury could draw reasonable inferences from the evidence offered that CAM failed to fight
The revocation of the license and CAM influenced the amendment of the brothel ordinance and sought the revocation of the license in an effort to void its obligations to TGI. Thus, there was sufficient evidence supporting the jury’s verdict that CAM breached the contract and the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.”

I don’t recall this particular detail of the trial but this makes it sound as if Lance et al were manipulating the system to their own benefit. Anyway, you should just read the ruling for yourself HERE

Oh, and while we’re at it…..I was told by an employee at the Delta that it as well as the Bonanza is or will soon be under new ownership…that Tina Perkins has purchased it and will be securing a gaming license soon…hope this one is true….I’ll be happy to see the Delta and Bonanza fully operational again!

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