COMMISSION CHAIR MARSHALL MCBRIDE ASKS ALL MIND READING AND CLAIRVOYANT STOREY COUNTY RESIDENTS TO CONTACT HIM IF THEY HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW COUNTY GOVERNMENT WORKS.
ZONING ORDINANCE (NON) ENFORCEMENT OFFICER AUSTIN OSBORN’S MAGIC 8 BALL HAS BEEN TUNED UP AND IS READY TO GO WITH ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ASKED BY THE RESIDENTS AND DIVINING RODS ARE AVAILABLE FOR THOSE RESIDENTS WHO WISH TO SEEK ANSWERS TO THEIR COUNTY GOVERNMENT QUESTIONS ON THEIR OWN.
PAT WHITTEN’S MEETING WITH TESLA TO NEGOTIATE NEXT YEARS $1.2 MILLION DOLLAR SERVICE AGREEMENT WAS POSTPONED AND STOREY COUNTY GOT STIFFED BY THE GOVERNOR BY NOT BEING NAMED AN “OPPORTUNITY ZONE”
CONGRATULATIONS TO FOURTH WARD SCHOOL ON RECEIVING A $100K GRANT…..WAY TO GO LARA!
By Nicole Barde
This was a fairly short and pretty straight forward meeting. There were very few staff updates.
Comptroller Hugh Gallagher announced that the final budget review will be on May 21st.
Elaine Spencer, Executive Director of the V& T Rail Commission, gave an update saying that since opening for ticket sales a week ago that they have already sold 358 train tickets with 122 for the Mother’s day run. This is a very good start to the season. She also announced that the V&T will be having a VIP event on June 2nd and they have invited the Governor and the Lt. Governor to attend along with all of the heads of the Tourism organizations and press. This will be a kick off for the season.
Pat Whitten said that the Service Agreement negotiation meeting with Tesla was cancelled by them and will need to be rescheduled ASAP. He said that they need to sit down soon since the Ordinance giving them reduced fees on a number of items expires with this budget year. Pat said that since Tesla’s current Service Agreement funds 2 people if they don’t reup that the supporting headcount in Community Development goes from 3 down to 1 and that will bring them to a standstill.
Pat also announced that Fulcrum will be having a groundbreaking for their facility on May 16th, at 10:30 this is an invitation only event.
During Board updates Commissioner, brothel owner, TRI principal and Blockchains government affairs worker Lance Gilman gave an update on the Federal Opportunity Zone program which was passed in January of this year. He said that there were about 275 potential opportunity zones in Nevada, that the Governor selected 61 and that Storey County was not one of them. Lance said that the majority selected were in Southern Nevada.
Lance said that this is a great disappointment but that the major companies at TRIC have combined to lobby the Governor to include Storey County as an Opportunity Zone. He also mentioned that there were a few small opportunity zones designee’s in Northern Nevada that were willing to give Storey County their designation because they believe that Storey County ( read TRIC) would act as a “feeder” for them. He said that we should know by the next meeting if the Governor has agreed.
SIDENOTE- Although it’s no surprise that the South sucked up most of the “opportunities” I am happily surprised that our neighboring counties are willing to give us their designation. I just hope that if Storey County IS designated as an Opportunity Zone that it isn’t limited to TRIC. That it can apply to the entire county and V.C. in particular.
Additionally, for any of you who have driven to Elko and stopped along the way you can see how badly our rurals need this type of investment…..those towns are dying out there. I hope that these communities are the ones getting this investment in the North and in the South.
But I digress…
Next up was Commissioner and Commission Chair Marshall McBride. To quote from Pat Whitten’s summary (so I don’t get accused of misrepresenting facts) Marshall “encourages any and all residents, or others, who have any questions or concerns about County government to please contact the Commissioners, the County Manager, or the County Comptroller. Phone numbers are available by contacting the County Manager’s office at 775 847-0968 or visiting online . Recently a lot of misinformation is circulating and being published. Please do not accept what is heard “online” as gospel.”
SIDENOTE- I sat there wondering what he was talking about. He was clearly disturbed about it. He did say “would be journalist with a blog” and did say “numbers “were being thrown around and that they were “misleading” and “downright lies”.
Well…there are only two of us who write about the county. Me on bardeblog.com and on my Facebook pages and Sam Toll, Editor of thestoreyteller.online.
The below commentary is aimed at the leadership of the county not the department heads who are very responsive to citizen questions.
The last several Storey Teller articles has lots and lots of numbers in them and based on what I read those numbers were all gotten off of either the county’s own website or from the Department of Taxation and GOED. UH………….lies???
Since the county has made it a policy NOT to communicate how it does its business and doesn’t make it easy for information to be easily gotten by residents asking dicey questions why is Marshall surprised when people get that information and interpret it for themselves?
Given Sam Toll’s recent Stonewall article HERE ,and based on what I’ve been told, citizens are blown off when asking for potentially damaging information so maybe they have given up asking for it.
Is Marshall upset that the information vacuum created by the county is being filled with actual information, numbers and opinions not controlled by the county?
Citizens have been asking questions and they are either ignored or given pat answers. Despite the Commissions view that the Highlands Message Board is “irrelevant” it IS a forum for residents to ask their representatives questions. When this happens there is rarely a response.
When was the last time Marshall McBride or Jack McGuffey each had a well publicized open forum in their districts to give a detailed update of county happenings and to take questions from citizens? I have to give Lance Gilman credit here, I’ve been to a few of his meetings in Lockwood and they are informative….PR and spin aside they are informative.
Although Pat Whitten’s after meeting summaries are an improvement over nothing and do have information in them, they are still as Elon Musk would say “boring and dry”. There is no context. If DA Langer got up on the table and beat Commissioner McGuffey over the head with her shoe it would be reported as “the motion passed”.
Now to be fair, Pat’s summary can’t be perceived as “minutes” to the meeting since minutes need to be approved as official records but it can be a bit more explanatory.
The Comstock Chronicle basically just regurgitates the Whitten after meeting report and adds no value to it. No context, no history to the items, no commentary, no follow-up questions. Nothing.
Although citizens can ask questions on agendized items in the Commission meetings if what you are interested in isn’t on the agenda you’re out of luck. Citizens can ask for items to be put on the agenda but they can be denied, which if it’s just a question/discussion item may not be appropriate as an agenda item.
OK…so can citizens wait for hours and hours until the very end of the meeting to ask these questions at public comment? Well….no.
The County and Marshall in particular truncates citizen dialog in the Commission meetings by putting public comment at the end of the meeting making it inconvenient for the citizens to attend to just ask a question. Then, even if public comment were at the beginning of the meeting Marshall recently implemented a “NO QUESTIONS, NO DEBATE” rule for public comment. All you can do is make a statement. You can’t ask questions.
Then there is the Agenda packet for the meetings….which is usually VERY informative but published in a format that makes it impossible to search and get to the item that you are interested in. Some of the content is in very small type, presented sideways and not indexed. While meeting the letter of the law to make public these documents it does not meet the intent of the law as far as I am concerned since it is so burdensome to go thru to get the information.
Bottom-line, there is no serious professional effort on the part of the county to create a well-informed citizenry…..by design.
If they wanted us to be informed they would be doing things differently. But effective communication , as defined by THE CITIZENS is not a priority or even a VALUE in that organization.
UH………….so……. given the intentional information vacuum just exactly where do citizens get enough of the information they need in order to even know what questions to ask? I know!!
- Haruspicy…..Reading entrails!
- Mind melding!
- The Magic 8 Ball!
This is exactly the reason why I started bardeblog.
When Angela Mann exited the Chronicle and I saw that there wouldn’t be a continuation of the relevant and detailed information that she reported I decided that I would try to do it based on the information available at public meetings. I chose to report on public meetings and provide links to source documents so that my readers can see the actual data I am basing my comments or opinions on. It’s all public record.
Sam Toll comes along, also sees a vacuum of information and decided to report on what goes on in the county but by doing investigations on certain issues. He also provides source documents.
Given my readership numbers, and probably the Teller’s, people are hungry for this information and they are hungry for the truth. By truth I mean the upsides and the downsides of the deals and decisions being considered. Not PR spin, partial facts, marketing hype and empty promises based on hopes. The FULL STORY….and they’re not getting it from the county.
I am still curious to know from Marshall what exactly is misrepresented or lies in the numbers published either by me or Sam Toll. In the absence of the county’s publishing and explaining of these numbers ………….I will interpret them myself and share that with my readers.
He can disagree with my opinion of the numbers but…..the numbers are the numbers……and they are HIS numbers.
But I have WAY digressed.
Jack McGuffey’s board update was to ask the V&T Executive director if the children would be getting train whistles on the mother’s day train and announcing a $100k grant received by Fourth Ward School.
The next agenda item was to have been a review of the revised Tentative 2019 budget numbers. Hugh Gallagher got up to say that they don’t have all of the numbers finalized for the review. Recall that the initial budget expenses came in $1.9 Million dollars OVER Revenues. The Tesla Service Agreement was to have been done by the meeting but since it was cancelled Hugh doesn’t know what to expect, meaning that we are going after a $1.2 million dollar Service Agreement which mitigates the $1.9 Million dollar overage and then leaves “only” $700k to either take out of the budget or find revenue to offset.
Bottom-line Hugh said that the budget needs to be finalized by May 21st and that the departments are currently working on cutting the $1.9 Million dollars out of their budgets in the event that Tesla doesn’t come thru.
There were voting items after this that are covered in Pat Whitten’s report.