CONGRATULATIONS TO AUSTIN OSBORN THE NEW STOREY COUNTY MANAGER….LET’S HOPE FOR CHANGE
IT IS GROUNDHOG DAY FOR JUDGE HERRINGTON AND THE JUSTICE COURT…NOTHING HAS CHANGED IN 13 YEARS…..
LANCE IS DE-ANNEXING A PORTION OF HIS TRIC PROPERTY….HUMMMM…HEMP ON THE HORIZON?
SUMMER CARE HOURS AT COMMUNITY CHEST, 7 am to 6 pm, WILL START SOON FOR THE KIDS…..CALL TO FIND OUT THE DETAILS
LASTLY, BOB GRAY PASSED AWAY THIS MONTH…THANK YOU BOB FOR GIVING US THE BEAUTIFUL V & T RAILWAY….
By Nicole Barde
The staff updates are pretty well covered in Pat and Jay’s meeting summary but I’d like to reiterate a couple of things.
In case you didn’t know it …. Community Chest Medical Clinic is open on MONDAY’s and WEDNESDAY’s. They will also be open for summer care for elementary and middle school age kids from 7am to 6pm. Eric Schoen, Executive Director, also noted that they received the funds to finish funding the daycare space so look forward to an expanded year-round program
Mike Nevin, Special Projects, reported that the Gold Hill sewer plant dimensions would likely be about 40’l x14’w x 10h and look similar to the restroom building at the north end of town. The enclosed facility will mitigate any odor issues that typically arise from processing. The project will be having community meetings so that the Gold Hill residents can understand the scope of the project and have inputs into the plan. Mike and the combined team is doing a great job in turning this around quickly.
County Manager Pat Whiten said that he, Deny Dotson and Commissioner Marshall McBride were meeting with NDOT next week to discuss the County taking over the town’s portion of C Street. It is currently under NDOT control and every time we have events, close the street or erect banners, or have activities it is in violation of some NDOT rule. Taking it over for that portion allows the county more flexibility in its use. However, taking it on also means taking on the maintenance responsibilities and that hasn’t been part of the budget so it’ll be added.
The first agenda item was the selection of the new county manager. Pat Whitten noted that he was in receipt of two emails that were to be part of the record. One was from Ron Knecht withdrawing his candidacy for the job HERE and the other was a letter from a resident asking that the Commission do the right thing in selecting a candidate HERE.
Pat also noted that the requests by Commissioners Carmona and Gilman to receive a grid of the qualifications of ALL of the candidates who applied and further 1-1 meetings with the finalists were met. The usual thanks and praise for the process was expressed then Commissioner McBride called for a vote. Commissioner Carmona said that Austin Osborn was the best man for the job. Commissioner Gilman concurred and Commissioner McBride made it unanimous.
During Public Comment former County and Planning Commissioner Larry Prater, Judge Eileen Herrington, TRIC employee Kris Thomson and in absentia TRIC developer Roger Norman all spoke highly of Austin and his fit for the job.
SIDENOTE- This was a move that surprised no one. I sincerely wish Austin the best…….I really do. We NEED him to be the best.
I hope that the double-dealing, the favoritism, the fear, the unapproved bonuses, the cronyism, the blind eye, the tax and land giveaways, the total compliance with whatever TRIC wants, and the repeated changing of the brothel ordinance for personal needs….WILL STOP.
I pray to God that Austin will, in fact, hold to our existing Master Plan and protect us from the 10,000 homes that BLOCKCHAINS plans to build out at TRIC …which is not zoned for it. I hope that he can protect us from being scammed by the big money interests directly and indirectly thru the governors’ office. I hope that he has a strong and sustainable economic plan for all of Storey County which will ensure that our revenues will sustain us thru the downturn we are headed for. I hope that he will truly be “the new boss” …….and not just “ same as the old boss”. I hope he is strong enough to stand in the face of the force of the competing interests that are at work here.
I have the same hopes of Commissioner Carmona.
Time will tell.
The next agenda item was looking at the Justice Court options in light of the order to vacate the District Courtroom in 180 days. The various options were discussed ranging from temporary to permanent solutions. Essentially it will take at least a year to build a permanent building and the temporary solutions will be less than fully functional for the needs of the Justice Court activities. There was a bit of back and forth about the options and the costs. The Commission wants to discuss an extension with the District Court to go beyond the 180 order.
During Public Comment Judge Eileen Herrington got up to read a statement HERE into the record. She wanted to do three things with the statement:
- make sure that people have an understanding of what the Justice Court does
- give a bit of history of how we got here
- show the enormity of the impact that the decision will have on the lives of the people that the court serves
In the statement, she outlined the continued postponement of this decision over the last 13 years. The continued shuffling from temporary location to the next. The repeated agendizing of the issue with no result. The continuous stream of changing plans with no action. The escalating cost due to inaction. One of her statements was the following :
“ I simply can’t believe you anymore. I feel like Charlie Brown and Lucy, only it’s the Commissioners holding the football. And I recognize that I’ve seen different commissioners address this project over the past 13 years, and I can think of only one common denominator throughout this whole futile process. If we keep heading down this path, we’ll have the most expensive courthouse never built.”
At the end of her statement, Marshall thanked her for the history lesson…and noted that “today was to look at options”. He reminded her that the county went thru a 6 year recession and “didn’t have the money to build a Taj Mahal down there”.
Judge Herrington said that she is not asking for a Taj Mahal, and now they are saying that things cost too much and she does not feel that they have been listening to the needs over the last 13 years. This is not a new issue, this isn’t a surprise. Marshall seemed irritated at this point and said: “give us some options”. There was a bit of back and forth between the Commissioners and Judge Herrington and she commented on some of the temporary options that could be used while the new building is built.
It ended with the Commissioners asking for each of the 6 options suggested having costs put to them so that they could make informed decisions. To his credit Commissioner Carmona stated that he would rather have a final solution rather than expensive temporary solutions since they take money away from the overall project. He has a view to make sure that several colocation issues are taken care of in this building. Commissioner Gilman agreed.
Commissioner McBride said that we have a responsibility not to spend money if we don’t have to and that the building is at least $4.5 million dollars. He then “teased” us by saying that he knows something that’s still confidential that may come available in VC which can be acquired for cheaper than the building of a new facility.
Lance suggested public workshops to determine the best course of action as far as the options are concerned.
This agenda item will be carried forward.
SIDENOTE-I highly suggest that you PLEASE read Judge Herrington’s statement. I rarely if ever have favored spending money for “real estate” but I support this particular item. Yes $4.5 million dollars is a LOT of money but once you read her statement you’ll see why this is a need. I’d say that this is more important than the building of a new $1 million dollar + Visitor Center for VCTC…….more important than buying the Freight Depot…..more important than another parking lot…..
The one common denominator that she mentions in her statement, altho she does not mention his name, is Pat Whitten. He is the one who could have taken action to do this at a time when the costs were lower. We have seen him be very creative with other issues, he could have taken action to look at various forms of financing to get it done. In 2010 he floated the V & T Rail bond which we did not use and are still paying interest on to fund the non-existant tunnel 6 project but couldn’t manage to look for ways to fund the Justice Court? I can not imagine what his issue is with the Justice Court or Judge Herrington…but there is one.
Marshall’s concern for being fiscally prudent is nice to hear but rings hollow given all of the real estate purchases made and actions in the last several years that have given away our revenues and assets. Why is this a sticking point? If we needed another $1 million dollar parking lot they would find that money so why not this? I have to say that I found his treatment of Judge Herrington while she was at the podium dismissive and disrespectful.
Meanwhile his teasing of “something coming up” in VC for the county to acquire is interesting….I wonder which buddy will have his property bought by the county? Maybe this is why it has taken this long to decide about the Justice Center. Lets see who makes money on THAT deal.
To the extent that Judge Herrington strongly supported Austin Osborn for County Manager I would hope that he will be able to address this problem and make this happen for us.
The next item was the 2020 Census. The presenter stressed the importance of everyone participating in the census since it results in power and money. Power in terms of adding representatives based on population and money in terms of the types of Federal and State grants and funding options we qualify for.
Last but not least was the item regarding Commissioner, brothel owner, TRIC principal, former BLOCKCHAINS consultant, and aspiring hemp grower Lance Gilman’s request to have a parcel removed from the TRIC development agreement and Master Plan. The property is at 475 Wild Hose Canyon Drive. This item was approved.
During public Comment I asked the following questions:
-Can anyone in the park de-annex? Meaning if BLOCKCHAINS wanted to de-annex that portion of property where they want to build the 10,000 homes and change the zoning to residential can they do that?
I was told that if there is agreement between the County, the TRIC agreement principals and the owner of the property that they can de-annex but that the zoning would have to be consistent with the overall master plan for the area. They said that this is on the fringe of the park so it makes sense.
-Will the zoning change with this current de-annexing at Wild Horse Canyon?
I was told that there is a zoning change request that will be heard by the planning commission from I-2 to Forestry
SIDENOTE- Interesting….will have to check to see what this develops into. If it’s Lance’s hemp growing operation then I think that the Ordinances may need changing since they buttoned the Marijuana language up to essentially say that no hemp products could be sold, grown or distributed. The US Farm Bill added hemp as a legal crop so we’ll see what happens with this.
If it is residential , a zoning change will have to be made….but how can they change it to residential when none is allowed in that area?
Either way…..where will they get the water? Oh wait…………