THE SPECIAL ASSESSMENT DISTRICT AND TAX INCREMENT AREA WAS APPROVED TO GO FORWARD BY THE COMMISSION. THIS DOES NOT APPROVE THE USE OF OUR MONEY TO PAY FOR THE PIPELINE ….IT IS JUST APPROVING GOING FORWARD WITH THE DETAILS OF THE PLAN.
TRI EMPLOYEE KRIS THOMPSON DECLARES:
- NICOLE BARDE IS THE ONLY PERSON IN STOREY COUNTY WHO OPPOSES THE USE OF PUBLIC FUNDS TO PAY FOR THE PRIVATE TRI PIPELINE
- NICOLE BARDE HAS BEEN GOING AFTER THIS PIPELINE DEAL “HAMMER AND TONG”
- NICOLE BARDE HAS HERSELF WORKED FOR A FILTHY ABATER….INTEL CORPORATION ….WHO HAS RECEIVED AT LEAST $5.9 BILLION DOLLARS IN TAX DEALS IN THE STATES THEY OPERATE IN
THANK YOU KRIS THOMPSON FOR YOUR HEARTY ENDORSEMENT OF MY CANDIDACY FOR STOREY COUNTY COMMISSIONER!
By Nicole Barde
You can find the agenda packets HERE and HERE and County Manager Pat Whitten’s summary of BOTH meetings HERE and HERE. If you want to listen to the meetings you can find the recordings HERE.
Pat Whitten’s summaries cover the non Pipeline items pretty well so I won’t restate them here. I am going to focus on the Pipeline.
There were two meetings this week, The regular meeting and a special meeting. Both meetings dealt with the review of the improved Special Assessment District (SAD) and Tax Increment Area (TIA) structures.
The way the pipeline deal is structured is that the county will issue a $35 million dollar Bond ($60 million with interest) which the State will buy. Storey County is borrowing and going into debt by this amount.
SIDENOTE- This is not unusual for government entities to do as part of any incentive deal with companies. The costs for government to issue bonds is less than if the companies were to do one on their own so this is standard operating procedure across the US for those who wish to use it.
But I digress….
The SAD is established so that the County can assess the 6 companies who are asking for the water to pay the $35 million dollar bond ( $60 million with interest) which the county will issue. The SAD is a specific land area which contains the 6 companies. Those companies are: Switch, Google, Tesla, Blockchains, Emerald City and Reno Land.
The presentation on the SAD HERE goes thru the intimate details of the route of the pipeline, the detail of where the $35 million ( $60 million after interest) will be spent and lots of detail on the payments and cash flow as apportioned to each company in the SAD to the county.
The next agenda item was on the Tax Increment Area (TIA) HERE. The TIA is the same land area as the SAD with the same 6 companies in it. It is created so that the county can reimburse the 6 companies for the bond payment that they were assessed as part of the SAD.
This “reimbursement” will come in the form of returning or diverting future tax money that the companies pay on their property, real and unsecured, in this TIA/SAD land area.
SIDENOTE-This deal is being touted as “ the companies are paying for it themselves” in the presentations and all over the news sources. Some of the press releases and news sources fail to mention anything about the TIA, they only report the SAD so it LOOKS like the companies are paying for it. But they are not. They are getting reimbursed their taxes….or in essence getting yet another tax abatement.
But I digress……
This was a very rich presentation in that it has the detail of which tax revenues in the TIA will be eligible to give back to the companies. In a nutshell, it says that the taxes which we currently get will continue to come into the county coffers. Anything above that baseline, with a few exceptions, is what is eligible to be used to reimburse the companies. It is not in the slides but they said that the companies will only be reimbursed $60 million dollars in Bond payments over the 20-25 year term of the bond. After that, all of the taxes flow as normal into the general funds of the state and the county.
SIDENOTE-First of all and for the record…I support the pipeline…the companies need it…I support helping them to get it. What I DO NOT support is the use of one singe penny of public funds to buy them a utility. A utility which after our tax dollars pay for will get handed over to the TRI GID for FREE. The county will retain no asset after paying $60 million.
Some of these companies already have abatements. For the two land developers in the SAD and TIA who missed out on getting any free tax goodies , they should have to do what every other business on the face of the earth does….pay for it themselves.
Our small businesses on C street have to pay for their own infrastructure, their own improvements and they pay full fare taxes. THEY are the ones who have been supporting this county in good and bad times….they get nothing, they ask for nothing, they use their own grit and money to succeed. BRAVO!
But I digress…..or do I?
There is one slide in the TIA presentation which has the projections out in time of the tax revenues with and without the pipeline. It shows the “with pipeline” numbers about 2X higher than the “without pipeline” for each year.
After the presentation, I got up during public comment to ask if the companies will pull out if they don’t get the funding from the County. The short answer was that the companies will have to reevaluate their plans on growth. I then asked what probability they had assigned to them pulling out. I said that in any deal negotiation you look at various scenarios, look at various options and positions and assign probabilities to each of them to better gauge risk or likelihood of certain outcomes. I really got no answer here.
I further stated that I supported the pipeline but not the use of our public funds to pay for it. That if the companies really needed to water that they could pay for it themselves, they had already invested in this venture and will likely not pull out if our tax dollars didn’t give them the pipeline.
Kris Thomson TRI and Lance Gilman employee and roommate came up after me and stated that I , Nicole Barde, was the only person in the county opposed to this deal. That I have been going after it hammer and tong and that the company that I previously worked for and am continually touting, Intel Corporation, is itself the recipient of $5.9 billion dollars of tax abatements. He then presented the commission with THIS document which lists all of Intel’s incentives.
He went on the extol the benefits and advantages of what he calls “the miracle in the desert” and how this pipeline is good for everyone.
I got up after Kris Thompson’s statement to thank him for establishing my qualifications to deal with and address abatements and incentives as a commissioner candidate. I further stated that working at Intel during many of those tax deals uniquely qualifies me to understand the corporate side of these deals which I supported while at Intel. As a citizen, I oppose THIS deal because it is corporate welfare and I believe it isn’t a good deal for us.
Commission Chair Marshall McBride asked me why I continued to refer to the taxes that the companies are using to reimburse themselves for the Bond payments as “our money”. I said……because IT IS our money….I consider any and all revenue generated by any and all revenue sources from anywhere in the county as OUR money since ….well…. it is.
SIDENOTE- If Kris Thompson had bothered to actually look at some of the deals that Intel got he would have seen that the majority of those abatements were on our capital equipment purchases which were in the billions. While some were for property tax abatements, others were for training credits, some for Federally funded research and development, and Intel continued to pay property and state income taxes in most cases. They were and are the largest unabated taxpayer in Oregon and in the top of the other states where they have factories..
As part of the deals in Oregon and New Mexico Intel was also required to pay for infrastructure improvements caused by increased traffic and water use (Oregon) and they built and deeded over a $30 million high school in Rio Rancho (New Mexico). Additionally Intel had to pay $2 million a year community service fee in Oregon, $100k per year to civic and non-profit organizations and also provided lots of other community support which was NOT required.
I have to ask this…..what have our commissioners negotiated FOR US in exchange for this $35 million ( $60 million with interest) deal??? I have a LOT of ideas on what our communities should be getting from these companies for these abatements. This should be a negotiation….not the giveaway it is under their watch today.
Nevada could learn a lot from Oregon and New Mexico about how to cut a deal and the companies at TRI could learn a lot fom Intel about what being a good corporate citizen is.
Now, there is also a dark side. In 1997 Intel had committed to go into Ft. Worth Texas…that community geared up for that arrival…the market changed and Intel cancelled those plans at the time which was a shock to the community. Intel is a huge presence in Rio Rancho, New Mexico outside of Albuquerque….due to the market and economy it has had several layoffs and at one point contemplated shutting down its facilities. This has negatively impacted those communities.
I say this to highlight that the companies at TRI will do what is best for them…and they should….but that we need to do what is best for us.
I have way digressed…..or have I?
After Kris Thompson’s statement, one of the land developers got up to say that he was offended at my use of the term “ corporate welfare” and that he has invested $17 million dollars of his own money into his project at TRI and that the pipeline will enable him to fully develop it. He further stated that there is no risk for Storey County and that this is a vehicle for job creation.
SIDENOTE- I say hooray for the entrepreneurship that this gentleman has shown. This is capitalism at work. He has identified an opportunity and he has taken a risk by investing in it. Just like the Cigar Bar, The Roasting House and the VC Brewery and Taphouse on C street in Virginia City….all new businesses….who also invested their own money…..Just like Loren Purcel at the Red Dog who added the outdoor stage and Richard Oates who added a $27k ventilation system at the Canvas Cafe with no county handout. He needs to talk to them about what investment risk looks like and suck it up.
Sam Toll, Editor of thestoreyteller.online, also got up during public comment to correct Kris Thompson by stating that there is at least one more person in Storey County who opposes the use of public funds to pay for the pipeline and that person is him.
The meeting ended soon after this.
Meanwhile, since both of these commission meetings, I have held 2 community meetings about this pipeline deal. I handed out the original presentation materials and tried to present a balanced view of the deal. These meetings also had county officials at them from Planning, the Comptroller and even one of the deal consultants…so they made sure that the facts were the facts when I gave them.
I am doing these meetings because I feel that the community has a right to know the details and that they need a way to convey their feelings about how the county uses their tax dollars.
I had three “petitions”. One in favor of diverting future TRI tax revenues to pay for the pipeline, one opposing diverting future TRI tax revenues to fund the pipeline and one “undecided” about it.
We had about 12 people at the VCH meeting with 9 signing the opposed petition. I collected an additional 16 signatures later in the week while I sat at the VCH mailboxes, all opposing for a total of 25 opposed, 0 in favor and 0 undecided in the Highlands.
There were almost 100 people at the Lockwood/River District meeting ; 35 opposed, 9 undecided and 0 in favor.
I will hold more meetings and try to put the petition online….stay tuned!