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.

I’ll start at the end first.

Since nothing was mentioned during the meeting about the Google story which ran all over the universe ….. at the end of the meeting I got up to ask when the full details of the Google deal would be made public. Specifically what, if any, abatements or other incentives had been given to Google.   I was reminded by both Pat Whitten and Commissioner Lance Gilman that they were all under NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreements) and could not confirm or deny that it was Google coming into TRI or give any specifics of the deal.  

Additionally, the terms of the private sale were private between the buyer and the seller and would remain so. Pat also said that the public information is online on the assessor’s and recorder’s websites. Finally Lance said that “there were no offsets asked for”.

SO…..according to what I heard there were no tax abatements asked for or given to Google. SO….the good news here is that there should be full tax and fee revenues coming from Google into the county coffers.  Well….unless there’s a gotcha in there somewhere…..

During Staff Updates Comptroller Hugh Gallagher said that the departments have been asked to relook at and trim their budgets in order to decrease the budget deficit that the tentative budget produced. Additionally that the third quarter budget actuals will be reviewed at the  May 2nd Commission meeeting.

During the tentative budget review in March Hugh was asked to quantify the totality of the abatements in Storey County. Hugh stated that he has determined that the total abatements equal $5 million dollars. These abatements include BOTH property tax caps AND incentives and abatements given to companies at TRI. Hugh needs to get more detail in order to break it down by district and by company. More to come on this.

Deny Dotson, VCTC Executive Director ,reported that USA Today is having a poll on the best/most popular town in the Southwest and that VC is #3 at this point.  YAY!!

He also reported that there will be an “ambassadors” day coming up in VC. This is in co-ordination with the various venues such as the museums which will be free on that day. It is hoped that the people who visit and see what VC has to offer will be “ambassadors” and tell others about how wonderful the experience was.

Cherie Nevin, Community Relations, announced that FREE VC “Dump Days” will be on May 4 thru May 6th. Look at the County website to see what will and will not be accepted at the transfer station for FREE! She also noted that there was going to be an open house for the county museum in the Courthouse on May 31st from 5-7. Light refreshments will be provided.

Since Shawn Griffin, Executive Director for the Community Chest, wasn’t there Cherie commented that the Fundraiser Shawn put on at Pipers on the 14th was a phenomenal success. It was a sold out event and everyone had lots of fun. Congratulations to Community Chest. I know what to takes to pull one of these events together…

Jeff Nevin, Fire Chief, reported that there was a hazmat spill at Tesla last week. It was a barrel of cleaning solvent and not a threat to the public however there were a couple of Tesla employees who had to be taken to emergency care.

Jason Van Havel, Director of Public Works, reported that 6 Mile is now open! He also reported that Public Works will be doing shoulder repair work on Lousetown and Cartwright roads next and that the Summer Roads program will focus on Mark Twain this year. Jason also mentioned that Public Works will be dismantling the Black and Howell building. This is Deny Dotson’s ill-advised purchase that is now an eyesore, a liability and a burden on the county.

Austin Osborn, HR, Planning Director, reported that the county was able to bring down the healthcare benefits costs from a 30% increase to only a 6.7% increase. Needless to say a couple of the tradeoffs were more cost sharing for the employees and an increase in the deductibles. I’m glad to see that the county was able to bring that increase down significantly.

Keith Loomis, Assistant DA reported that the expected complaint on the Sutro Springs Road ownership issue has happened. It will go thru federal court and the matter will get resolved there. He also reported that the Malfitano Supreme Court case has finished and a decision will be made within the next 6 months.  Look HERE for a brief summary of the who, what, where and why in this saga.

Pat Whitten reported that Brian Staples of the local VFW has partnered with the County and Stacy Gilbert of the VC Senior Center to acquire Fred Dutton’s 12 seat van. Fred graciously donated the van to help the Vets and seniors with transportation to the many appointments that they have. Thanks Fred!

There were no Board comments.

There was a legislative update given by Pat Whitten and Austin Osborn. Some of the key items were:

SB 57. The request to reconfigure the V & T Rail Commission has passed thru committee and looks likely to pass the Senate and get approved. This was the bill that was derailed by project manager Candy Duncan after an agreement was reached by the key players. Despite her sabotage this is moving along.

SB 439. The bill to allow the counties to raise the diesel tax by 5 cents….if they feel like it. Pat Whitten made it a point to clarify the misinformation that was posted on the VCH message board. He clarified that this was NOT a tax hike. That if passed, this would only ALLOW the county commissions to raise the tax…..if they felt like it. But it is not a tax hike. RIGHT..…..just an open door to do it. It’s like giving me a cupcake and telling me that I don’t have to eat it…….RIGHT.  Anyway, he said it’s out at TRI and the county residents don’t fuel up there…oh, and all the other counties already have higher fuel taxes………..and oh… could be less than a 5 cent hike…it could be 2 or 3 cents……and ….SB 438 is not a tax hike. At no time did he say that the Storey County Commissioners would not enact it.

AB 153, the economic impact fee requiring Storey in particular to pay surrounding counties for the infrastructure they have to build to support TRI employees is basically dead.

SB 314 is about the locating of windmills and wind farms. There were addendums included so that they would have to “conform to the character of the area”. This means that having windmills visible from C Street wouldn’t be historically correct or conforming to the area.

There were also bills concerning the replacement of the states voting machines as well as body cameras for Law Enforcement. Both had the same issue….WHO PAYS?

Joe Curtis, Emergency Management, gave a great overview of what we may be looking at when the spring melt happens. In a word…disaster. If there is a quick prolonged period of warmth and the melt  happens all at once……….not good.

He said that the amount of water that is expected to run off would be the equivalent of filling Lahotan three times over. The areas that will be most affected are the Truckee, Carson and Walker rivers and low lying areas near them.  Additionally, flooding in the low lying areas would affect HWYs 95, 580 and 395.

395 between Carson and Gardnerville may be flooded for weeks. Fallon is preparing for approximately 40-60 homes to be flooded out and they are hand digging two diversion rivers to mitigate to flow.

The state is anticipating this disaster and wants to submit the application for a declaration of disaster with all of the affected counties included in the declaration. This is preemptive on Nevada’s part since they know it’s going to be bad if it all melts at once. A Presidential declaration of disaster will free up federal funds to reimburse the counties for their work.

Cross your fingers that we have a SLOW moderate spring and snow melt.





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