THE TWO PANELS WHO WILL INTERVIEW THE COUNTY MANAGER CANDIDATES HAVE BEEN NAMED—–SEE BELOW FOR THE NAMES
THE STOREY COUNTY TAX RATE REMAINS UNCHANGED—AND THE COMPTROLLER SAID THERE WAS NO WAY, NO HOW ,THAT ANY TAX REBATE OR TAX RELIEF IS POSSIBLE IN THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE—NOW THAT THE BIG GUYS HAVE THEIRS ……SO MUCH FOR AN ABUNDANCE OF RICHES FOR WE THE PEOPLE.
THE UNAUDITED FINANCIALS SHOW THAT THE BUDGET DEFICIT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR HAS BEEN ERASED WITH TESLA PAYING ITS BILLS AND WITH INCREASED REAL AND PROPERTY TAX PAYMENTS
……AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST…A BIG THANKS TO PUBLIC WORKS FOR WORKING ROUND THE CLOCK AND KEEPING THE ROADS PASSABLE FOR US ALL
Staff updates are pretty well covered in Pat Whitten’s summary. But one item worth reiterating is :
A series of Senior Services focus groups are scheduled for the next few months to assess the needs of our senior citizens. The following is the complete schedule with times and locations:
February 21, 5 – 6 PM: Lockwood Community Center
March 12, 6 – 7 PM: Virginia City Highlands Fire Station
March 21, 5 – 6 PM: Mark Twain Community Center
April 4, 5 – 6 PM: Storey County Senior Center, Virginia City
Seniors are a very large and a very vulnerable segment of our Storey County communities ….please attend one of these sessions if you are a senior or care for a senior!
Agenda Item #15 was the approval of a professional services contract to do the “due diligence” review of the TRI GID before the County accepts the responsibility of being its governing board. This request came from Mr Sader the TRI attorney since there is difficulty in finding residents living at TRI to serve on the 5 member board. There are two seat vacancies as a result. Those currently sitting on the board are residents of the Mustang Ranch.
Before the County can do this they need to understand what, if any, issues exist that they should be aware of. Therefore this, as well as a technical analysis by Farr engineering, needs to be done on the plant and all of its associated infrastructure….equipment, sewer pipes etc.
During Public Comment Sam Toll, Editor of The Storey Teller voiced his support for doing the due diligence. He noted that he has been bringing up the Board issues at the GID for over a year and is happy to see that proper governance may be on the way. He also noted that he has heard from several sources and residents out at TRI that the infrastructure is weak at best ( roads, sewer) and was glad to hear that an engineering due diligence was being done.
His question was regarding the County’s financial relationship or liability for the TRI GID should something go wrong.
ADA Loomis stated that there is no liability for the operation of the GID for the County. This is a governance not an operational role for the County. The TRI GID is a separate entity with its own ability to set and raise fees and taxes, has its own financials and responsibilities separate from the County. It is to be determined if Commissioner Gilman would sit on the GID Board.
I got up to ask about the scope of the work…was it to be all the physical assets? Pat Whitten replied that the role of the person they are contracting with was to evaluate the assessment and Farr’s engineering recommendations as well as the adequacy of the capital improvement plan, checking to see if approvals for operation are current and many other items.
SIDENOTE- I think that the engineering assessment is a great idea. I had heard a couple of times over the last couple of years that the dam/reservoir out there may be leaking …this should put that rumor to rest.
Item #18 was the approval of an auditor for the Tesla tax payments. In a nutshell, Tesla still has to pay taxes directly to the State. Then the state keeps a portion of those taxes and refunds the rest to Tesla ( for the abatement) then gives Storey County its portion of the Tesla taxes and the County has to refund them back to Tesla ( for the abatement). All of this has to be audited to “follow the money” to make sure that everyone agrees with the amounts going back and forth between the State, Tesla and the County. Tesla pays for this audit.
During public comment, Sam Toll asked if these audits would be available to the public and was told that probably not since the Department of Taxation doesn’t disclose much in the way of audits but that the GOED website has a lot of information.
Item #18 is the approval of the County’s property tax rate. It was left as is. It has been the same since 2008. It was noted that only 3 counties have a tax rate lower than ours ( Eureka, Humbolt, Elko). Comptroller Hugh Gallagher stated at the onset that he has looked at various ways to enact a tax rebate/tax relief ( per Commissioner, TRI principle, brothel owner, Blockchains government affairs worker and aspiring hemp farmer Lance Gilman’s promises in 2014) and that due to the abatements at TRI it is not possible…” no way” he said.
He said that there isn’t enough coming in to do it and that if enacted at this point that 85% of the tax relief would go to the companies out at TRI and “the taxpayers of Storey County wouldn’t see one (any relief) ” . He said that we will have to wait until the abatements expire to be able to know what we can do….not until 2024.
Pat Whitten added that it isn’t prudent to lower the tax rates because WHEN we go into an economic downturn we can’t raise them as fast as we need them. He also stated that by leaving the tax rate the same that the County can continue to invest in and fund more services.
Additionally, any property tax increases that residents are seeing is due to increasing valuations and the tax cap going up each year. Not an increase in the tax rate itself.
SIDENOTE- What can I say?…..my head exploded. First of all, I’ve been talking to them about slowdown/recession every time they give away our money….and they insist that the river of money is on the way….an attitude of ”why worry”.
So…let me see if I get this straight. Multi-billion dollar companies get massive tax abatements. Developers get their ( deserved) massive profit on the sale of the land at TRI. Lance Gilman gets a free USA Parkway from the county to turn around and sell to the state pocketing that money while we still owe him $25 million for it. An Opportunity Zone is established so that multi-billion dollar companies don’t have to pay full taxes. More multi-billion dollar companies get the County to pay for a pipeline with OUR tax dollars that should be coming into the general fund…….and “ THE TAXPAYERS OF STOREY COUNTY WON’T SEE A TAX RELIEF” because there isn’t enough money coming in to do it???
I don’t know why people aren’t outraged! You were lied to and now robbed…..what will it take?
I support funding more services….it’s what I ran on during my campaign…..but you can’t increase services unless you KNOW that you’ll have a steady stream of revenues to continue to fund them. You don’t want to cut those services later. So how can they increase services ( continue to increase spending in the budget), meet the promise that was made for tax relief and have stable revenues during a downturn ( decreasing revenue scenario)? If we are in a downturn at the time the abatements come off…..the expected tax revenues will be less than they are now since the companies will be cutting back….if not pulling out.
But I digress………
Item #20 was the unaudited financials for the second quarter ending in December 2018. Bottom line the deficit that the budget year started out with has been erased. The majority of that deficit was due to Tesla’s not having signed the services agreement. Despite the lack of a full agreement they have been paying what they owe and as a result, the budget has “corrected”. Revenues are at 62% of budget as opposed to 50% due in large part to more property tax revenues coming in than forecasted. The property tax revenues are at 73%. This may be due to some of the larger players paying the entire tax for the year as opposed to payments. Hugh doesn’t know yet. All in all, revenues are doing well.
The expenses are at 43% as opposed to 50%. Part of this is due to the departments not spending if they don’t have to. There were a couple of “rocks” that were not anticipated and will have to get reclassified and/or funded thru the augmentation process later this year.
Item #22 was the approval for a Special Use Permit (SUP) for AT&T to erect a communications tower on county property and pay a $2900 per month licensing fee. The Board was very happy to see this happening since there has been a lack of consistent coverage.
During public comment, Sam Toll got up to ask if the Jeep Posse would be receiving any of this revenue as they receive revenue from the flagpole tower in the same location.
Pat Whitten said that he doesn’t know. He said that they share 50% of the flagpole revenue with the Posse and that this one will be looked at during the budgeting process.
SIDENOTE- This is a long story. But to summarize , the Jeep Posse is a private mens only club of Storey County insiders. It used to be affiliated with the Sheriffs Office as part of search and rescue. They parted ways in about 2012-2013 when they wouldn’t do the training the Sheriff required them to take. CERT replaced them.
There is a long history of doing community works , in the past the school scholarships were primarily given to kids in their own families and to kids of friends, and they don’t allow women members. They lease the Icehouse and its property from the county for $1 per year and claim the revenue of the existing flagpole tower as theirs since it is on “their property”….but bottomline the county funds this organization because they are members of this organization.
Thats all I’m gonna say,
Item #23 is an update on the progress of the County Manager replacement. Pat Whitten read a letter from Linda Ritter the outside consultant who reported that the job was posted on January 8th on governmentjobs.com ( got 168 views) and the Storey County website ( got 188 visits). That there were 13 letters of interest/applications by the February 1 due date.
Pat also reported that he sent out the job posting to all of the Nevada County/City Managers and that it has also been circulated to the Nevada league of cities in the Henderson area.
Linda and Pat will select the candidates for interview from these candidates who will then go on to be interviewed by the two panels comprised of people selected by Pat Whitten and the Commissioners
The Professional panel is made up f the following people:
Gary Hames-Community Development
Ann Langer-District Attorney
Jeff Nevin-Fire Chief
Jason Wierzbicki-Public Works
Deny Dotson-VCTC Director
Pat Whitten-County Manager
The Citizens Group is made up of the following people:
Commissioner Marshall McBride selected -Corby Hansen and Mike Nevin
Commissioner Lance Gilman selected -Kim Martin and Laura Kekule
Commissioner Jay Carmona selected- Tom Taormina and Bob Macarrio
Pat Whiten selected-Randy Pitts and Scott Jolcover and will add one more