LUMP OF COAL BUT NO PROPERTY TAX REBATE FOR THE CITIZENS OF STOREY COUNTY…WE’RE TOLD……. “THE CHECK IS STUCK IN THE MAIL”….HAPPY NEW YEAR STOREY COUNTY!
STILL NO CONSEQUENCES FOR PAT WHITTEN FOR SIPHONING OFF $215,000 OF COUNTY MONEY EVEN IF THE AUDITORS THOUGHT IT WAS NOT RIGHT.
STOREY COUNTY IS A HAVEN FOR MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DISORDER AND BLURRED LINES OF CONFLICT OF INTEREST …BUT WHY WORRY
JACK MCGUFFEY SPREADS ONE MORE UNTRUE RUMOR ABOUT THE VC SENIOR CENTER AND ALSO ASKS THAT THE BROTHEL ORDINANCE GET TWEEKED TO SUPPORT THE WORKERS RIGHTS TO WORK.
Nicole Barde, Bardeblog.com
You can find the Agenda HERE and County Manager Pat Whitten’s summary HERE. If you want to listen to the meeting you can access the recording HERE.
You can read the majority of the staff updates updates in Pat Whitten’s summary.
Assistant D.A. Keith Loomis gave an update on Commissioner Jack McGuffey’s suggestion that we look at how Alaska Sovereign Wealth Fund “shares the wealth” of oil and mineral revenues with its residents as a way to provide the residents of Storey County a share of the vast abundance of cash flowing from TRI as promised by Lance Gilman in 2014 and demanded by him in 2017. ADA Loomis described the Alaska as well as the Oregon mechanisms for giving “rebates” to its citizens and both states have added legislative or Constitutional language that allows it. Nevada has no such statutes and so it would require a legislative change in order for Storey County to provide a rebate of any type. Additionally the NRS states that any tax action needs to be equal and uniform across all constituents. Which means that if the decide to temporarily abate property taxes for citizens they get abated for ALL citizens including the companies at TRI.
There was a bit of discussion about looking for other ways for the citizens to benefit from TRI’s vast gushing of wealth in every direction but ………..none could be found. Pat Whitten suggested that they do a workshop in February to look at it some more.
SIDENOTE- Can successfully kicked down the road once more.
Here’s the problem I continue to have with this. Commissioner Lance Gilman is a salesman…..a great salesman. And salesmen tend to over promise and under deliver. Lance Gilman has been touting for many years that TRI is going to provide wealth and riches to Storey County and its residents, he made a proclamation in 2014 that it be done immediately…Jack McGuffey jumped on THAT bandwagon in 2017 demanding that it be done immediately…well……NOT HAPPENING. NOT HAPPENING. NOT HAPPENING anytime soon.
Storey County is barely able to keep up with the costs of maintenance on TRI infrastructure that we owe $47 million dollars on. We are struggling to figure out how to pay for the two new Fire Stations that we have to build.
It seems that the effluvium pipeline bond scheme to use TRI/ OUR tax money to pay for it can’t muster enough taxes in TRI to pay for that pipeline. They may have to use an additional special surcharge of some sort from the companies who will use the pipeline. I think this is PERFECT as long as they don’t use the current taxes to pay for the pipeline.
TRI tax revenues look to be flat going forward and the outrageous abatements handed out to the “biggies” at TRI don’t start to go away for many years. Meanwhile, the maintenance needs/expenses of TRI continue to grow….where is the revenue going to come from to feed that need until the abatements elapse? Will we have to float a bond to finance our expenses at TRI?
No one bothered to do a forward looking financial forecast of Storey County and TRI revenues and expenses over the abatement period to see what the impacts of those abatements would be. And yet the promise of an abundance of riches and money flowing thru the streets kept being made as an election tactic and/or as a diversion to keep us from looking closely at the presenting expense issues.
This is incompetent.
Telling the residents that they will be getting a tax rollback/rebate/ abatement without FIRST looking to see if it can be done is nothing short of irresponsible.
BUT I DIGRESS…………………………
Pat Whitten discussed the issue of having to move the Justice Court out of the Court House. The Storey County Court House is the jurisdiction of the District Court. Sharing it with Justice Herrington’s Justice Court has become an issue so she has to move her court elsewhere. They are in the process of looking at a number of options. More on this later.
Item #10 was the approval of the 2017 Audited Financials. We have a new auditor and it took them a while to get their arms around our financials. Net-Net Storey County passed the audit with just a few comments from the auditors..
During Public Comment I got up to ask if there were any recommendations or issues that the auditors had. Every County audit that I’ve seen has a “grading” of how the County did on last year’s fix it list and has a fix it list going forward. I was told that there wasn’t anything big or material, just suggestions. The Auditor noted that they thought that the Office of the Comptroller was very good to work with.
So I noted that there were three mentioned, one was a need for the Comptroller’s to learn how to get and provide the information needed by the auditors to do the financials, then get the resources and learn to do the financials so the auditors don’t have to. The second one was how the value of the bonds are captured and the third was Pat Whitten’s spending of County Funds without Commission approval for the appropriations. They “suggested” that there be more internal controls and transparency and Commission approval in the future.
SIDENOTE- YA THINK? Pat Whitten misappropriated at least $215,000 dollars and he is not being held accountable. No consequences. What do you think would have happened to a County Employee lower down the ladder if they had done this?
But I digress……
Sam Toll, editor of The Storey Teller, got up to ask about the $47 million dollar and climbing TRI debt and how it affects the County’s borrowing power and debt ratio. Comptroller Hugh Gallagher said that it’s not considered debt and so it does not affect it. (During the meeting Hugh told the Commission that we have $58 million left on our credit card to spend if they wanted to.)
Sam then asked that given the abatements and the need for 2 firehouses at TRI if the “abundance of wealth” promised would materialize…if after looking at the expenses and revenues was there any wealth that could be redistributed to Storey County residents after the 2017 budget year ended.
Hugh basically said no. To his credit he stated that he didn’t really have visibility going forward but that he wanted to be prudent. He said that things can turn and impact us negatively financially. Hugh stated that he would love to do it but no. The coming budget cycle should give us more visibility as to whether it can be done in the future if at all.
SIDENOTE- Thank you Hugh for not blowing smoke up our skirts.
Item #14 was smoke and mirrors. It read “Approval of right-of-way license agreement for power line transmission granted to Switch Business Solutions, LLC”.
The net-net is that Switch had already put up 12 power poles on County easement without permission, permitting or payment. This was a “housekeeping” activity. Commissioner Marshall McBride said “It this asking for permission or forgiveness?”
After a very brief explanation that it was a bit of both the 20 year, $500 per year Right of Way agreement was discussed.
Sam Toll, Editor of The Storey Teller got up to ask what exactly were they being licensed for. He was told that they were licenses for power and communication delivery. He asked who they were servicing and was told that they were servicing themselves. He then asked if Switch could possibly help Lockwood get faster internet communications. Adam Cramer, the person from Switch came up to describe how Switch was working with schools and other communities and it sounded very much like a robust business delivering services to organizations other than themselves. He repeated “delivering service” several times.
SIDENOTE- I really don’t know what’s going on here. The county just basically gave Switch an after the fact free 20 year license to deliver a service ……potentially not just to their own facility as was stated in this meeting. Additionally, Switch Business Solutions, LLC is NOT Switch Communications which houses the servers. It’s a holding company with one employee, Rob Roy, Switch CEO. So, anytime I hear that something is a “housekeeping issue” I have to wonder what body are we burying? I have also heard some very disturbing things about how Switch does business and about a current issue involving the county. This just makes me wonder more.
But I digress….
Item #16 was the re-appointment of Ron Gallagher and Angelo Petrini to the VCTC Board of Directors as well as Corrado de Gasperis (CMI) to replace departing Chair Scott Jolcover (CMI).
Sam Toll , editor of The Storey Teller, got up to ask how Corrado was selected for the position since the Gold Hill Hotel isn’t under his or CMIs daily control ( it is leased out) and why any actual hotel operators weren’t considered. Sam was told that it was advertised and that Corrado was selected.
SIDENOTE- What I have heard is that since VCTC Board Chair Scott Jolcover owns the fairgrounds and since the VCTC currently leases it and the County is in negotiations to buy it that the DA’s office determined that the conflict of interest line was getting blurred with Scott on that board despite the fact that he recuses himself when the fairgrounds are being discussed.
If this is true I say HORRAY! A bit late but HORRAY!
While they’re at it maybe they can look at the conflict of interest with VCTC Executive Director Deny Dotson and RAD (Ronelle And Deny?) Strategies and Liquid Blue. Deny is an owner and Board member of RAD strategies. I’ve been told that he has a stake in Liquid Blue. VCTC does exclusive business with RAD Strategies and Liquid Blue. RAD Strategies also does business with the County. I don’t know if the county went out to bid before hiring RAD. As an owner Deny benefits directly from this arrangement.
While they are at it maybe the DA’s office looks closely at Commissioner Lance Gilman’s conflict of interests as Commissioner, TRI principal on the receiving end of county land gifts and zoning changes, brothel owner on the receiving end of several brothel ordinance revisions at his request.
Or, Kris Thompson’s conflicts being a planning commissioner, a TRI project manager, brothel spokesman and Risk Manager for the Gilman Trust…all having zoning issues that come before the board.
I mean…with so many personas how can Deny, Lance and Kris keep things straight in their own heads to keep from dealing themselves favorable advantages? How is ANY of this not conflict of interest?????
But I digress…………
Next came my favorite part (NOT) of any Commission agenda….the work card appeal of Lance Gilman’s brothel workers. The brothel was represented by Joey Gilbert who had to fly back from his Hawaiian vacation with Lance and family to do his job. Lance did not make it back from Hawaii for this meeting.
This item went on for quite a long time due to lengthy back and forth on each employee. The two ladies making the appeal couldn’t make the meeting so that became moot. The third appeal was for a bartender and he got his appeal approved.
Issues in the back and forth were related to the Sheriffs revoking of the bartender’s temporary card 3 days before Christmas for a slight omission on his application and not personally checking the work of his staff. Another was the discussion as to whether it really is a public safety issue to have to check all brothel workers even those not engaged in the sex trade. Joey Gilbert noted that it seemed that the Sheriff was “moving the goal posts” on what is required so it’s hard to know what’s required.
SIDENOTE-This all sounds like whining to me……. after sitting thru many of these appeals, even I know what is required if I want to get a work card to work at a brothel. The issues of carelessness in filling out the applications are always the same. Then, in this case, they don’t bother to even show for the hearing
But I digress……
Marshall McBride again reminded Donny Gilman, brothel manager, that it is his responsibility to make sure that the applications were completely and accurately filled out. At the end of the appeal hearings Joey Gilbert, attorney for the brothel read a statement into the record saying in essence that the brothel ordinance needs to be revised again because the language is unclear, it gives too much latitude to the sheriff and that it needs to be updated as to the types of brothel workers who need work cards (referring to the bartender)
Jack McGuffey wholeheartedly agreed that the Brothel Ordinance needed to be tweaked.
Sam Toll, Editor of The Storey Teller got up to say in essence “ look, the law is the law” and maybe Joey Gilbert needs to be checking the applications to make sure that they contain all of the required information so they don’t get declined.
Kris Thompson came up in his persona as “Risk Manager for the Gilman Trust” to support the revision of the Brothel Ordinance.
SIDENOTE- This will be at least the third time that they will be revising the brothel ordinance at Lance Gilman’s request….but……there is no conflict of interest because he has his son, his employee, and the lawyer he vacations with do the talking for him and he doesn’t vote on it.
How many county Ordinances do you think the Commission would change if a regular citizen wanted them changed?
But I digress……………
At the end of the meeting during public comment I read a statement into the record. I did this because I had to do something to get Jack McGuffey to STOP SPREADING UNTRUE RUMORS about the VC Senior Center. This was the second time that I have caught him at it and I want him to understand that it has to stop.
Here is the statement:
It came to my attention over the holidays that Commissioner Jack McGuffey has once again been spreading untrue rumors about the senior center.
The first time that this happened was in 2017 and I had to have a clarifying conversation with Commissioner McGuffey in Pat Whitten’s office with Pat Whitten present. During that meeting I asked Commissioner McGuffey to go back to everyone that he had told this rumor to and tell them that it was not true. I also asked that if in the future he had any questions or concerns about the Senior Center to come to me first.
A couple of weeks ago I was told that Commissioner McGuffey was telling people “the senior center is missing $800 and Nicole is the treasurer and can’t handle money”.
When I heard this I knew that it was not true but had to speak with Center Executive Director Stacy Gilbert and ask her the question “are we missing $800?”
The answer is what I expected…. “No Nicole we are not, I can show you the accounts”. Stacy was crushed that this false rumor had been put out there.
Stacy Gilbert, and her staff, have worked tirelessly to strengthen and expand the Senior Center’s services to provide for more seniors. They have put effective and transparent financial and inventory systems in place and have become a benchmark to other centers on how to do fundraising. Significant improvements in the quality of food, service, activities and events have been implemented and continue to this day.
The Center’s board of directors have all jumped in to support Stacy and the center with countless hours of work. They all deserve better than this slap across the face by you.
To be clear, the Senior Center is not missing any money. Please come examine the books yourself. Stacy Gilbert is a county employee reporting to Cherie Nevin, another county employee. Hugh Gallagher is the comptroller overseeing the centers finances. It takes two board signatures to write a check, we have two people counting and logging cash when we have it and we don’t typically have more than $100 in cash.
I am not the treasurer, I am the board chair and some of the other board members and signators on the account are Virginia Nevin, who is the treasurer, Ellie Curtis and Edith Andreesen.
Once again, Commissioner McGuffey, I ask that you go back to those you’ve told this rumor to and tell them that it is not true. I also ask that if you hear of anything concerning the Center that concerns you come to me or Stacy Gilbert.
Lastly, I will tell you again what I told you when we met in Whitten’s office…..if you want to come after me…..just do it directly…..don’t involve the Senior Center.