By Nicole Barde

You can find the agenda packet HERE and County Manager Pat Whitten’s summary HERE. If you want to listen to the meeting you can find the recording HERE.

Pat Whitten’s summary is pretty complete and I just have a few comments.

FIRST THINGS FIRST. Below is the information on the special election on the question of whether to recall Sheriff Antinoro. Please go out and vote either in person or thru absentee ballot.

SIDENOTE: This whole thing has been a very divisive process in our small county. I keep hearing directly and thru third parties that more than a few people felt COMPELLED to sign the petition because they were pressured overtly or implicitly by the person asking for their signature. Imagine…………..saying no Bum Hess, Jim Miller , your boss or any of the other key players who can affect your livelihood and quality of life. This is small town politics at its worst from the standpoint of not having the personal freedom to disagree publically out of fear. I don’t care if it’s one person or a thousand……IT IS WRONG AND IT HAPPENED HERE.

Additionally, since the signers of the petition are public there is pressure there as well for both those in favor and those not in favor of the recall….you can face consequences from neighbors and friends on both sides of the issue. Just for the record, two out of three County Commissioners signed the petition…..Marshall McBride did not sign it. For some that may be a betrayal, for me that is worth respecting. I don’t know what his motives were, at the very least it says to me that Marshall didn’t want to drag us thru the meat grinder which we are currently going thru as a small community.

The only good news in this scenario is that NO ONE CAN SEE HOW YOU VOTE ……BUT YOU MUST VOTE.

If the Sheriff is retained the voice of the people will have been heard twice. The first time when he was elected to the position, the second when he was retained in the position.

If the Sheriff is recalled then the voice of people will have been heard to remove him but the County Commission will appoint a new sheriff. That takes the will of the voters out of the equation. It’s like bad and more bad in my book. For me bad is retaining an imperfect but effective Sheriff, more bad is to leave the decision and appointment to 3 people, one of whom has the agenda to remove the sheriff for his own personal benefit. It would be different for me if the decision on who to appoint went thru an actual election…that way I could have a direct voice…..but this appointment process, given what has already gone on with the petition process, just goes against the grain for me.

Election information:

Voter registration for the Special Election closes Saturday, March 25, 2017. In addition to regular office hours, the Storey County Clerk’s Offices located at the Storey County Courthouse, 26 South B Street, Virginia City, Nevada will be open for voter registration on Friday, March 24, 2017 from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, March 25, 2017 from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Requests for Absentee Ballots must be submitted in writing to the Storey County Clerk’s Office by Tuesday, April 4, 2017. Absentee ballots must be received by the County Clerk by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day, April 11, 2017.

Early Voting  will be held on Saturday, April 1, 2017 from 10:00am to 4:00pm at the following locations:

26 South “B” Street
Virginia City, NV 89440

431 Canyon Way
Lockwood, NV 89434

Additional early voting will be held Monday, April 3, 2017 – Friday, April 7, 2017 from 8:00am to 6:00pm at the following location:

26 South “B” Street
Virginia City, NV 89440

During Staff updates Joe Curtis, Emergency Management Manager, was discussing the various meetings they have recently held to get funding to repair damage caused by the January storms. During his update he once again lauded all of the many people who stepped up at that time, and since, to help the communities get services. Not all of these folks were county employees and certainly not all of them were paid. I can’t thank all of these people enough and will continue to do so!

Both he and Pat Whitten also made a point to recognize the efforts of Gary Brownwell and Jay Carmona on their efforts to coordinate services at the Emergency Command Center for the Highlands. The Highlands road crews did a phenomenal job given the thin resources available to them. As a Highlands resident I can’t thank them enough. All of these efforts are the best of what small town community living is all about.

County Comptroller Hugh Gallagher gave a brief update on the budget process saying that the first review is set for 9:00AM on April 4th. He mentioned that the revenues for the budget don’t seem to be as much as this years and that the expenses are coming in higher. HUMMMM. Is Storey County still giving abatements and special deals to companies? If so….where is the payoff?

WAIT……..where is the windfall of revenues and riches from TRI that Commissioner, TRI principal and brothel owner Lance Gilman promised in 2014 and ever since?

Where is my promised property tax rollback/abatement/refund as a result of “massive near term new capital investments from incoming companies coming into our County tax base” that Commissioner, TRI principal and brothel owner Lance Gilman promised in 2014 and ever since?

Are we rich yet?

Arika Perry from St. Mary’s talked a bit about the move to re-establish the Comstock Arts Council….this would bring some strategy on how VC and the County would promote, support and preserve the arts on the Comstock , make them more visible and define the benefits for children and adults. Lara Mather, Executive Director of the 4th Ward School Museum, talked about creating a signature fundraiser event called “1910 A step Back in Time” on October 7th where vintage 1910 school desks would be used by artists to create unique pieces of art which will be part of the fundraising activities for the museum. I really look forward to seeing the level of creativity that this will spark! I think that re-establishing the Arts Council is a great effort for our community and hope that it garners the support it deserves.

There was a legislative update on a few of the bills going thru the legislature that would impact Storey County. Austin Osborn, HR and Planning manager, mentioned several which were Personnel related (overtime, collective bargaining, orientation, in/out of network insurance coverage, PERs) and a couple of water and planning Bills.

After that Pat Whitten discussed SB 57. This is the bill that would re-constitute the V&T Rail Commission and have the control in the hands of those who benefit from the line (Storey and Carson). Pat Whitten reported that before going into the hearing on this bill that there was agreement between the parties involved as well as with the legislators that the bill was agreed to by all concerned. At the meeting they found out that Candace Duncan, the V& T Commission Marketing and Project coordinator, had sent a letter opposing the proposed changes. She sent this on V&T letterhead and ostensibly outside the approval of the current V&T Rail Commissioners. This letter “sabotaged and derailed” all the prior agreements and the legislative meeting took a different turn. RUH-RHO!

AB 153 and also SB 345 are both mirror bills on imposing impact fees on Storey County basically as a result of the infrastructure that surrounding counties have to build to support all the employees as a result of TRI. Pat reported that there were 16 people who testified against the bill and only one (the bills writer) for it. Hopefully AB 153 is DOA. We didn’t hear much about SB 345…

AB 143 is now a property tax correction bill….not a tax hike. They are still trying to get more money out of taxpayers but the pesky tax hike cap keeps getting in the way…..this is another run at how to do that.

SB 302 is the marijuana bill which sets a 15% tax rate with 5% going to county general funds. I haven’t read the bill so I don’t know if the county gets any of these revenues if they have no marijuana establishments in their county. Given the decreasing revenues in Storey County maybe they will try and recruit some of that business.

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