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.

Congressman Mark Amodei was on the agenda but had to cancel. I’m sorry he couldn’t make it, his update last year was interesting.

The majority of the Staff updates are pretty well covered in Pat Whitten’s Summary. There are a few that bear amplification.

In my continuing admiration of Community Chest I will once again praise their efforts …this time for expanding the before and after school program to Hillside Elementary in Lockwood. Eric Schoen gave this update as well as reminding us that they have a Halloween event coming up on Friday, October 26th at Pipers Opera House. I heartily suggest that you go to this and support this wonderful community based organization. They do what they do RIGHT!

Next, Cheri Nevin, Community Services Manager, mentioned that the VC Senior Center Executive Director, Stacy Gilbert, received the “Social Justice Super Hero” award at the Thrive Conference which they attended this month. Bravo Stacy, so proud of you!

Deny Dotson, Executive Director of the VCTC, mentioned that the VCTC Merchant meeting to discuss roles and responsibilities will be on the 18th of October, NOT the 11th as previously announced.

Lastly, the monopine in the Virginia City Highlands will be getting a dish antenna in order to be able to receive the signals that it/we need in the Highlands which will be 5G and above. Needless to say, I believe that the county has been working with A,T &T tirelessly to get this done since we need it for Emergency management purposes.

Next, Candace Wheeler from the Cemetery Foundation stepped up to award Cherie Nevin a Recognition award for her help on securing some grants for the Foundation. This was not part of Cheri’s job and she could have said no since her workload is very heavy as it is but Cheri pitched in. She helped them thru some snags and they got the grant.

SIDENOTE- I have worked with Cheri on a couple of things and I was on the Senior Center Board when we hired Stacy Gilbert and have worked with her as well…. I have to say that we have two of the best examples of “do the right thing” people in the county. I’ve seen them go above and beyond many times and appreciate all they do for us. You should too!

A happy digression ….

Next up were the agenda items, 12-15 relating to the continuation of the process to approve the financing for the Bond deal for the Effluent Pipeline, the establishment of the Special Assessment District and the assessment of the cost of the improvement to apply against the property of those who will benefit from the pipeline.

Items 12-15 were moved to the October 2nd Commission meeting because the deadline for approving the language in the agreements had been missed. Pat Whitten mentioned that each company has lawyers (6), Roger Norman has a lawyer( 1), the County has Bond counsel as well as Keith Loomis ADA….so what do you get when you have a room full of lawyers working on an agreement?

NOTHING. So in the absence of the finalized agreements these items are pushed to the next meeting.

Under public comment for these agenda items, I read a statement into the record which you can find at the end of this article. After I read it Pat Whitten made note that he has spent numerous hours over the last two weeks with Comptroller Hugh Gallagher dealing with the misinformation and inaccuracies out there about the pipeline deal. That here again was an inaccuracy. That the pipeline was not going to be turned over to “private parties” ( as I noted in my statement) but to the TRI GID which is a quasi-governmental agency.

SIDENOTE- Gosh…Pat seemed perturbed..…I told him that I would correct that particular inaccuracy. Stupid me. I figured that the TRI-GID was a private entity servicing only TRI for the benefit and profit of the TRI-GID. But now I know that it is a quasi-governmental agency servicing only TRI for the benefit and profit of the TRI-GID.

As far as I am concerned this is a distinction without a difference…but hey, my error, my correction.

I might have also been confused as to the TRI GID’s public/private status since 3 of the 5 “trustees” are Lance Gilman employees…Kris Thompson, Jennifer Milsap-Barnes and Luz Armas. Two seats are vacant. In a prior meeting Sam Toll, editor of the Storey Teller, brought up some potential legal issues with the validity of the GID which were summarily dismissed as irrelevant. Hummmm

Meanwhile, I will speak to Pat directly to find out just what is inaccurate and if I am putting it out there. Since I have been handing out the actual presentations from the Commission Meetings and had Hugh Gallagher, Austin Osborn and the deal maker representative at the Lockwood meeting I am really curious as to what besides the TRI-GID error I got wrong.

I spoke to Hugh Gallagher during the break to ask him what the inaccuracies were that Pat was referring to and he didn’t know.

But I digress…….

Agenda item #13 was regarding putting into writing Roger Norman’s verbal commitment to put up his own money, in the form of voucher credits against what the county owes him up to $1.5 million, in the event that the companies in the SAD don’t come up with their payments to the county for the bond. In a nutshell, he is a backstop if the companies don’t pay. Pat Whiten said that this agreement hadn’t been written yet, that Roger is waiting for both the SAD and the TIA to be approved before he agrees to anything. Pat Whitten also said that unless he has the agreement from Roger there will be no TIA approval.

Commission Chair Marshall McBride suggested that this item be approved conditional on the signed agreement from Roger Norman. Commissioner Jack McGuffey suggested that they push the item out to the October 2nd meeting giving everyone the chance to work on things. And so it was pushed out.

SIDENOTE-WAY TO GO JACK! Meanwhile, it seems that, at least as of THIS meeting, there is a Mexican standoff between the County and Roger Norman. Hummm…………….

But I digress…

Agenda Item #17 -Kathy Canfield from the Planning Department gave an update on the conclusion of the lengthy Flood Insurance Assessment. In a nutshell as a result of the assessment the county’s “rating” is an 8. With this rating, it saves the residents who have flood insurance about $40 per month on premiums. The assessment was long, detailed and burdensome to do. Kathy Canfield shepherded it the whole way. Her work affords all residents, not just those in the flood areas, the opportunity to be covered under the State/Federal Disaster Relief Fund. She and the county deserve our thanks for this!

Item #24 was the approval of a road abandonment request that had been approved by the Planning Commission. The person making the request is Steve McBride. At the beginning of the item, Marshall McBride disclosed that Steve was his brother but since he had no pecuniary interest in this transaction that he would still be voting on it. ADA Keith Loomis went up to whisper something into Marshall’s ear and then Marshall recused himself from the vote.

During public comment, Sam Toll, editor of The Storey Teller, got up to say that he had already had his statement of objection read into the proceedings of the Planning meeting on this issue. He further stated that this was an action that only benefits one person as opposed to the Commission looking at the future use of the road (K Street). Furthermore, he asked why this was going to be given to the applicant since it sets a precedent and now the other adjacent landowner can also ask for the abandonment of the other part of the road to add to his private property.

I also got up to ask why this land was being GIVEN for free to the applicant. Since when is the county in the business of giving away public lands, how was it in the best interest of our citizens to do it and what gives the county the authority to do it. Jack McGuffey also chimed in to ask why it wasn’t being sold. The response was that since there was no real use for the road that it was better to put it back on the public assessment rolls to be able to get taxes from it as part of private property.

Marshall then went on to describe the numerous other instances where land was abandonment such as: between Pipers and Pipers House, behind the old Bebe Mansion, several parcels at the RV park, on Stewart Street on the north end of town. Despite having recused himself he also went on at length describing the area around K street and why it was unusable.

Commissioner Lance Gilman spoke up to say that he would go along with the Planning Commission’s recommendation that it get approved. Pat Whitten noted that the cost of the appraisal would be more than the sale price for the land.

Finally in answer to my question about the authority to give the land away ADA Keith Loomis got up to read from NRS 278.480 which among other things states that the county “may sell” public land. He interpreted that as giving the county the discretion to sell or to give away….in this case, to give away.

SIDENOTE- Well…………Now that we know that the county has been giving land away for free because it is useless for public purposes I suggest that everyone look to the right, look to the left and see if your street or other county property looks to have no use and ask for it to be abandoned in your favor just like Steve McBride did.

Why not? According to Marshall McBride, it’s been going on for years….so why shouldn’t regular folks get some land as well? Let’s see if this “may sell” ,ie..give for free, rule applies to everyone.

Meanwhile, I find it odd that Marshall McBride would think that he didn’t have to recuse himself from approving his brother’s request just because he didn’t have a pecuniary interest. Keith Loomis had to tell him to do it. I mean….whats HIS definition of conflict of interest?

The statement I read into the record at this meeting:

Statement by Nicole Barde for the record on September 18, 2018 Storey County Commission Meeting

I would like to once again ask that you not go forward to the conclusion of this process and approve the diverting of future TRI tax revenue from the general fund in order to fund and purchase a private pipeline which will then be given to private parties.

In the capitalist system, people and companies are free to promote their business ideas, invest their funds and take the risk of failure for the possibility of future profits. The state of Nevada and Storey County have already invested in future “profits” and tax revenues thru the incentives and abatements given to many of the companies at TRI. One day this investment will pay off big….just not today.

I think that residents understand that the use of public funds for the incentives and abatements is a cost of doing business and are willing to do that in order to secure future county revenues. The expectation, however, is that once those companies are here they need to fund their own development and expansion

I don’t think that residents are willing to continue to forego receiving needed services today or in the future for the sake of continuing to “ help” big business. Our own C street merchants use their own money and bear the full weight of risk as they run and expand their businesses. They don’t ask for, nor do they expect, handouts from the County.

Why would they approve of your handing out public money to other businesses?

In going door to door in our communities in the last several weeks people are expressing concern and opposition to giving away our future revenues for these private companies when they see needs going unmet in their community.

Why would they approve of your putting the needs of big business before their needs?

Lockwood points to portions of their roads and easements that need repair, they point to the I80 on-ramp that needs reconfiguring, and they cite continuing water issues for some of its residents.

Mark Twain needs flood and speeding mitigation on many of their roads, a couple of 4 way stop signs, and some street lighting for safety. The Highlands is still waiting for a community center. Virginia City residents wait for their water and sewer bills to go back down and some flood mitigation on their roads to be done after this years “big dig”.

We have current and future needs in the county that are going unaddressed today while you think about giving away future revenues. $60 million dollars of future revenues , $60 million dollars of debt.

You are thinking of giving away future revenues and taking on debt at a time when the abatements are still in force and at a time when we still have to pay Roger Norman 35% of TRI revenues in order to repay our $47 million infrastructure debt to him.

While the economy is booming now , given how long it has been roaring wouldn’t it be more prudent to look at preserving our future revenue streams for the eventual and obligatory slow down that always follows rapid growth? Now is not the time to take on more debt.

The Pipeline is needed by the 6 companies at TRI and our residents understand that ….let us help those companies get the pipeline by selling the bond at the reduced cost for them to finance it , let’s have them pay us back thru the SAD.

But thats it. Enough is enough.

One thought on “Summary of the September 18th , 2018 Storey County Commission meeting.

  1. It’s always a pleasure to read your reports, but this one made me laugh out loud —

    “At the beginning of the item, Marshal McBride disclosed that Steve was his brother but since he had no pecuniary interest in this transaction that he would still be voting on it. ADA Keith Loomis went up to whisper something into Marshall’s ear and then Marshall recused himself from the vote.”

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