GIVING AWAY MORE OF OUR TAX MONEY IS ALMOST A DONE DEAL. PAVING THE WAY FOR RESIDENTIAL AT TRIC MAY BE A DONE DEAL AS WELL…WHO KNOWS…HOPE THE BEANS WERE WORTH THE COW.
ALL OF THE TIA PIPELINE RESOLUTIONS WERE PASSED WITH ONE HITCH……THEY ARE CONTINGENT ON ROGER NORMAN ‘S AGREEMENT NOT TO COUNT THE REVENUES IN THE TIA AS PROJECT REVENUES IN THE TRIC PAYBACK FORMULA
THE COUNTY PASSED A RESOLUTION TO HONOR, THANK AND SAY GOODBYE AND FAREWELL TO OUTGOING COMMISSIONER JACK MCGUFFEY. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE JACK!
There were very few staff updates and you can read what there was in Pat Whitten’s summary. They had originally canceled this meeting thinking that the County’s business would be completed in the December 4th meeting. During that meeting, the two agreements having to do with the pipeline had not been reviewed by the Commission or the public and so this meeting was called.
During Board updates Commission Chair Marshall McBride noted, as he always does, the passing of Highlands resident Karlyn McPartland. She was a longtime resident and was instrumental in organizing many of the community events in the Highlands especially those for the children. Karlyn was one of the drivers of creating the Highlands park and I worked with her on securing the park fund monies from the county along with Dave Thomas. She will be missed.
There were four agenda items having to do with the Tax Increment Area (TIA) for the pipeline. Before the first one, # 8, was heard deputy D.A. Loomis noted that Agenda item # 11, which was an agreement with TRIC developer Roger Norman, had not been signed and will be withdrawn from the agenda. There was a bit of discussion about going ahead with the other TIA related agenda items but to make them conditional on having the signed agreement with Roger Norman.
SIDENOTE- OK, detail and potential confusion ahead….
Under the Developer Agreement that the County has with TRIC ( Roger Norman), Roger agreed to front the money to pay for the infrastructure ( roads, sewers etc) out at TRIC then to hand the County the bill. We currently owe about $47 Million dollars +/- for work done over the last 20+ years. The County has been paying on it regularly….last years payment was about $640,000.
(Just a side note in a side note…the infrastructure that Roger built with non-union labor, substandard materials and few if any inspections is being called “crap” by the current TRIC residents… a direct quote…“ a dirt road with three inches of asphalt”. The sewer pipes have ruptured several times and caused even more damage. The cost to repair this infrastructure, which it needs NOW, is huge……and the County will have to pay for it. So any thought of getting a windfall out of TRIC for the rest of the county will be hampered by this need to do infrastructure repair )
Back to the loan..
Generally speaking, under the terms of this “loan” the County will pay Roger back .35 cents of TRIC Project Revenue dollars after certain County expenses are deducted and after a specific “cash cushion” is deducted. Using round numbers, if TRIC generates $100m in tax/fee/license revenues and it costs the County $75m in expenses ( fire, sheriff, inspections, road work/repairs, etc) that leaves $25m of “eligible” revenues per the terms of the loan.
Of that $25m, the County gets to keep $5m “cash cushion” to help fund operations in the rest of the county. That leaves $20m which the County has to pay 35 percent or $7m back to Roger as a loan payback. That leaves another $13m to go back to the County. In years when the TRIC revenues don’t meet that expense and $5m “cash cushion” threshold the County doesn’t have to pay the loan back. This loan is also interest-free. It is actually a great deal for the County as far as the TERMS of the loan goes.
Now, the current structure of this pipeline deal has Roger Norman once again fronting money ( ~$35m) but this time it is for the construction of the pipeline and the companies will be reimbursing Roger for those expenses. The contract between Roger and the companies is private and so we don’t know the terms. I believe that Roger is also fronting the rest of the project monies to the TRI GID for the $150m required.
Once the companies pay Roger for their portion of the pipeline construction and receive a “paid” invoice from Roger, the companies present this invoice to the County who will in turn “reimburse” them for that amount. The County will “reimburse” the companies by diverting the taxes that they have paid within the TIA back to them instead of those taxes going into the general fund.
The Agenda item that was pulled, Item #11 , essentially says that since the companies in the TIA are getting their tax money back in the form of a reimbursement for paying Roger for the pipeline, that those “revenues” should not be used in the overall calculation of the total project revenue generated by TRIC which is used to calculate the county’s payment to Roger.
Seems reasonable to me but…..Roger has not signed this agreement and so the other pipeline resolutions were passed but contingent on Roger’s signing this amendment to the Developer Agreement/Loan.
Clear as mud?
But I have digressed excessively…..
One thing to remember, per the last presentation given, only 50% of the taxes paid by the companies in the TIA are eligible for diversion away from the general fund and towards reimbursement. The state will contribute a portion of their cut of these taxes to the pipeline project for reimbursement to the companies as well.
The other 50% of the taxes paid by the companies in the TIA flows normally to the County and the State. The below agenda items prescribe how the money flows and the specifics of the pipeline construction and management.
Agenda item #8 was the reimbursement agreement, resolution 18-521, which specified the mechanics of how the companies would be reimbursed out of the TIA. Among other things, it establishes separate accounts each for Sales, Modified Business and Property taxes. This is where the County will deposit their portion of the tax payments from the companies. It keeps the companies taxes from going into the General Fund of the County. It will be from these accounts that the reimbursements will occur.
Agenda Item #9 was the cooperative agreement between the County and the TRI GID , resolution 18-522, which specifies the details of the pipeline project, “ a natural resources project”, as it relates to the plans and engineering of the project, acquisition and ownership of the property required, workmanship and materials, inspection of records, indemnifications, and other contract language.
Agenda Item # 10, resolution 18-523, was the mechanism for how the County will pay the respective State taxing agencies from the tax revenues of the companies in the TIA.
There were several comments and points made during the public comment section for these agenda items. I’d like to just summarize those points:
First and foremost, these resolutions were passed with the provision that the TRIC Developer agreement is amended to exclude the revenues from the TIA in the loan payback calculation. Unless and until an agreement is reached these resolutions cannot be enacted.
I raised the question about Roger Norman’s role in the pipeline’s construction and asked who was liable in the event that a company fails to pay Roger their portion of the expenses. To the extent that it should be spelled out in the private agreement that Roger has with each company my question was concerned about the County’s liability for those expenses…ie could Roger come after that owed payment from the TIA revenues earmarked for reimbursement? I was told no. The County has no liability in the construction of the pipeline nor any liability should a company default in it’s payments to Roger.
I also got up to say that we have been told that the pipeline was needed for manufacturing and other industrial uses at TRIC and I was concerned that this water would be used for other purposes. A bait and Switch as it were.
Given that prior attempts to have residential at TRI have failed for any number of reasons, not the least of which was water… and given the recent announcement by Blockchains about wanting to build a 10,000 home “Smart City” in TRIC I was concerned that the pipeline and its water would be used to further the current moves to alter our Master Plan to include residential at TRIC. I asked if there were restrictions on the water and its use. I was told no. That there are no restrictions to the water.
Kris Thompson, TRIC employee, Storey County Planning commissioner and Blockchains assistant government affairs worker, got up to say that the water going thru the pipeline was effluent and not potable. That the TRI GID was investing in the nations largest dual plumbed water system. Meaning that it will carry both potable and non-potable water to the various companies at TRI.
Austin Osborn, Planning Manager in this instance, said that no one in the County is working with anyone to change the Master Plan to include residential.
SIDENOTE- uh….not exactly true. Read Sam Toll’s article in The Storey Teller about the current efforts on the part of several TRIC and TIA resident companies to change the Master Plan to include residential. HERE. All it would take to turn effluent into potable water is a treatment plant. Just for the record…..I am not in favor of adding residential to TRIC……I have several reasons…water is just one of them.
Sam Toll, Editor of thestoreyteller.online , got up to note that there WAS a current effort afoot to move 1000 residential units out of Painted Rock and into TRIC and that Blockchains could make this happen by “turning toilet water into tap water”. Sam further asked about the ownership of the pipeline and Roger Normans role in the building of the pipeline and in the TRI GIDs $150 million expansion to accommodate the effluent. He was told that the TRI GID would own the pipeline and that the county has no knowledge of the contract between Roger and the TRI GID.
Sam went on to express his concern about the viability of the TRI GID and the County’s liability should that GID go under. He noted that there are two empty seats on the 5 member board and that those three members are all Lance Gilman and Mustang Ranch employees. He noted that at a Reno City Council meeting the question of who is responsible for the TRI GID should it default on its obligations to Reno and Sparks for the water was asked by a council member. A Switch attorney got up to say that Storey County was responsible for the obligations of the TRI GID should it fail. Sam was told by deputy D.A. Loomis that the county would not be liable for the financial obligations of the TRI GID. That the county had oversight but no responsibility.
SIDENOTE- Interesting since there is an NRS which states that the County steps in when a GID fails. But why let the facts confuse me….
Lastly, the resolution to honor Commissioner Jack McGuffey.
SIDENOTE- I have to say…I don’t know if this is done in other counties but I think that Storey shows a lot of class and consideration by doing it. There is typically a resolution like this when people retire or step down from community service….I am proud that we do it.
County Manager Pat Whitten, Commission Chair Marshall McBride and Commissioner Lance Gilman each commented as to Jacks contributions and impact on the county some of which included:
- Leadership on the zip code issue
- Responsible for getting the first ever Storey County BDR for the restructuring of the V & T Commissioner, SB 57
- Raising Storey County’s visibility at NACO
- Tireless work for our nonprofits. The St. Mary’s parking lot and security system, heaters for the senior centers, securing high-quality organic food from Thrive Markets for our food pantries, hosting commissioner lunches at the senior centers
- Driving the population of the mono-pine in the VCH by A, T & T
Jack got up to accept the plaque that they had for him and spoke about his time in office and how he worked with great people to get things done.
And so this meeting ended!