THANK YOU, USDA FOR WORKING SO WELL WITH STOREY COUNTY ON OUR MANY INFRASTRUCTURE FINANCING PROJECTS, MOST RECENTLY IN GOLD HILL…YOU ROCK!
PAT WHITTEN CALLS “BULLSH#T”, TWICE, ON THE INACCURATE REPORTS OF THE PURCHASE OF THE DIVIDE FITNESS BUILDING FOR THE JUSTICE COURT….REFERRING TO THE ACCURATE REPORT OF ITS PLANNED PURCHASE BEFORE IT IS A DONE DEAL
IN WHAT CAN ONLY BE IRONY OF THE HIGHEST ORDER…WHITTEN BLASTS “PEOPLE” FOR PUTTING THINGS OUT THERE WITHOUT FACT CHECKING, THEN CARMONA WANTS TO CURTAIL ACCESS TO THE FACTS BY THOSE SAME “PEOPLE”
LANCE GILMAN SAYS “ TO DATE THERE HAVE BEEN NO DISCUSSIONS AND NO APPLICATIONS TO DEVELOP PAINTED ROCK”….. FORGETTING TO DO ANY FACT-CHECKING ABOUT THE PAINTED ROCK PLANNING ACTIVITY THAT BLOCKCHAINS KEEPS TALKING ABOUT PUBLICLY.
Staff updates were brief and covered in both Pat Whitten’s and Jay Carmona’s summaries.
One item of note, and as a Highlands Resident near and dear to my heart, was that the County will be conducting a study of the Marlette Lake water system which will look at possible expansion of the water system out to the Highlands, and perhaps Mark Twain. This will take a long time to do but I am thrilled at the possibility of having a source of water in the Highlands to fill our tanks with at least!
SIDENOTE– During the staff updates Comptroller Hugh Gallagher and future County Manager Austin Osborn gave brief legislative updates. Again I ask…where is Bum Hess? Phoning it in?
Then, Commissioner Carmona asked a question of Fire Chief Jeff Nevin regarding firebreaks in Mark Twain. Mark Twain isn’t Jay’s district and he’s the one asking that question. I’ve rarely, if ever, heard Commissioners McBride and Gilman, whose shared district it IS, talk or ask about Mark Twain.
Barely a digression at all…..
During Board updates, Commissioner Carmona said that he noted that it costs the county about $100k to fill public records requests and that this needs to be looked at. He asked Deputy DA Loomis if we have fees in place to offset these expenses. DDA Loomis said that some but not all departments have fees and that there is a case in front of the Nevada Supreme Court on this issue. DDA Loomis said that the cost is staff time to meet the requests. Commissioner Carmona wants to know exactly how much it costs in staff time.
SIDENOTE– A Public Information Officer is who is responsible for giving out…public information. Everybody has one. The County has one. Austin Osborn.
Making it difficult to get public records is a barrier to the public’s right to know what is going on in their government regardless of who is asking. I have a healthy distrust of my government….at all levels…..I want to see actual source documents not just be told what they contain….providing this information is part of the “service” that government provides and that we pay for as taxpayers so that WE can KNOW. Letting the government block or decide what to give you when you ask for public information is dangerous. SO, pick a price…..dollars or ignorance.
Agenda Items #8 and #9 had to do with the financing for both the water tank replacement in Gold Hill and the financing for the new sewage treatment plant, also in Gold Hill. The final numbers aren’t out yet but the water tanks look to be about $1.8 million and the USDA will give us about $737k in a grant toward that as well as low-interest financing. The Sewage plant looks to be about $1.6 million with about $530k of that loan being forgiven at some point.
Mike Nevin, project manager gave a presentation of the location showing the contaminants, raw sewage, that has already overflowed into the site. Far West Engineering gave a brief presentation on the design being discussed.
Community Relations Director Cherie Nevin has, as always, worked hard to get this financing for us and worked closely with Far West engineering, the USDA and the County project leaders. The USDA was thanked profusely by Pat Whitten and the Board for their willingness to work with our particular set of issues here on the Comstock.
After the discussions resident and plant operator, John Dufresne, got up to say that the plans have the facility driveway cutting across his property and that no one has talked to him about that yet. Far West indicated that they are looking at all of the parcel maps to ensure that it doesn’t happen. There was quite a lengthy discussion between John and Far West.
John also noted that the facility needs to be built farther away from the residence since the odors will be an issue. Far West replied that the design will have several mechanisms to mitigate if not eliminate the odors.
Sam Toll, Gold Hill resident and Editor of The Storey Teller got up to thank the USDA and the team for doing such a good job in such quick fashion. He then asked if the USDA loan for the water tanks would have to be paid for by the ratepayers and if so how much. The answer was yes, but that the increase would be incremental and closer to a Cost of Living or inflation increase.
He then stated that the facility was in plain view of the road and incompatible with the historic look and feel of the area….he asked why property across the road in Comstock Mining’s area could not be used instead. The quick answer was that they only looked at land that the county owns, that it would be more expensive due to more distance and that the EPA might only let them build it in the area that is currently contaminated.
Item #12 is the request by the Virginia Range Wildlife Protection Association (VRWPA) for the county to install two additional flashing lights as horse crossing warnings. This will have to be done thru a resolution but the Commission seems to be in favor of it.
Items #13 and 14 were relating to the appraisal of the Divide Fitness building for potential purchase by the County to house the Justice Building. Pat Whitten started by saying that this was a frustrating situation. That two weeks ago the Fains approached him to see if the County wanted to buy the building since Nick Fain was going to move the trophy business out of the building. Then a small group under his direction looked at all of the prior options compared to this one and decided that the Divide Fitness building was the best of all the options and that they would pursue it and assign an appraiser to value it both for sale and leaseback. Tony Wren was the appraiser approved to do the task in today’s meeting.
He then continued by saying that it astounds him beyond words when people, or “watchdogs” take something that’s a viable solution and…..then he didn’t finish this thought. Then went on to say that based on the appraisal the county would be paying something like .50 cents on the dollar for the 10,500 sqf property and that its “bulls#it” that it will make the Fains millionaires. He also said this in a printed article.
Whitten said that there was absolutely no fact-checking done by the writer of the article. This was in contrast to a charming woman he spoke with who asked for the facts then reported them accurately HERE. He stated that the criticism of the Fains has been misplaced.
SIDENOTE– I look forward to seeing more articles about what is happening behind the closed doors of the County. This story got pushed before the agenda and gave people the opportunity to ask questions BEFORE THE FACT. Usually the public has no voice and certainly there isn’t scrutiny placed on a transaction in a way to make a difference in the outcome.
The details of this purchase got out prematurely…..and by that I mean that the back door got pried open to let us all in before it was a done deal. An upcoming decision had been made public before it showed up on the Commission agenda. They were NOT HAPPY . .
I will assume that the inaccurate story Pat is referring to is the Tellers article HERE and not Commissioner Jay Carmona’s statement HERE. Below is a listing of some of the statements made by both parties…time will tell which will be accurate. Oh, the day after Commissioner Carmona came out with the facts he made a correction because he didn’t fact check his numbers.
Lastly, if the County makes getting public records requests difficult or highly expensive ….how can anyone do any fact checking?….or is that the point?
From The Storey Teller:
-we can have the Fitness Center for somewhere between $2.5 to 3.5 million
-The Fitness Center building will need substantial modifications to bring the building up to modern Courthouse security standards
-estimates put these modifications at somewhere in the $1.5 million range
-from all appearances, the Fitness Center is not breaking even
-From what we can tell, they paid well under a million for the building. According to Storey County Assessors website, the building, built just 4 years ago, has a current taxable valuation of $682,206.
Jay Carmona’s true numbers:
-The lot and construction of the existing structure cost the Fain’s approximately $700k. The current real estate market value is estimated is $1.3-$1.6 million.
-Estimated Cost of Improvements to the Divide Building to suit the needs of the Justice Court, iT and Dispatch: $650k – 800
Jay Carmona’s correction to the true numbers:
-While irrelevant to what the current market value may be determined to be by the independent appraisal, I have subsequently been told that the Fain’s paid far in excess of the $700k figure I stated
Hell of a digression……….
Marshall said that this solution will cost us much less than building a new structure, that it’s not the most ideal but it’s close enough.
Lance said he had no issues.
Jay said that it is the least expensive, gives the county options and has room to grow.
During Public Comment Sam Toll, Editor of The Storey Teller asked why the county would not get a second appraiser so that there would be multiple opinions. Then began to address Pat Whitten’s comments about the story that he published and was shut down by Marshall McBride saying that the only comments he would take were those relating to the hiring of the appraiser.
Next up was the first reading of Bill 111 regarding Ordinance 19-300 increasing the Residential Construction tax on new construction so that the school district can make repairs and build needed buildings. This passed.
Commissioner Carmona asked if the Painted Rock development came online would the construction taxes generated there have to stay there or do they continue to fund schools not in Painted Rock. Storey County School Superintendent Todd Hess said that it would depend on what the Developer put in there or agreed to. Additionally, there is a bonding avenue that can be employed for schools in Painted Rock.
Commissioner, TRI principal, brothel owner, former BLOCKCHAINS consultant, and aspiring hemp grower Lance Gilman said that he remembers in 2000 when TRI loaned the school district $400k due to similar needs and thanked Todd Hess for bringing it forward. He also made a point to say that “ to date no application from the Painted Rock development, and no discussions to develop Painted Rock have been had”
SIDENOTE– Uh…WHAT???? Is he serious? ……a nanosecond of fact-checking on my part yields the following:
-On May 5 , 2019 in the Northern Nevada Business Journal HERE Blockchains is quoted:
“Blockchains LLC has several revenue streams, Digesti said in response to a question from the audience. Among other endeavors, the company plans to build bunkers in which people can store their personal data, to incubate other startups, and .to build a smart city in Painted Rock east of Sparks
Digesti said the company is now working with Storey County on the master plan and hopes to break ground on the campus in the first half of 2020.”
-There is the talk they gave on April 24, 2019 HERE:
Blockchains LLC’s Vice President of Government Affairs and Strategic Initiatives, Matthew Digesti, and Vice President of Operations, Stephanie Sciarani, will be presenting how blockchains technology is going to change the world of business, and provide insight into Blockchains LLC’s plans to implement a ‘smart city’ in Northern Nevada.
-And then the numerous articles about Blockchains building 10,000 homes in TRIC itself one of them HERE.
-Lance has been telling us we are the richest place on earth while telling Sam Shad in January of this year that we have no money and while the surrounding counties have plenty we will have to wait HERE
WOW….Lance must be one of those “people” who don’t do fact checking before putting out “bullsh#t”.
A disgusted digression …….
Next came the tentative 2019-2020 budget update from Comptroller Hugh Gallagher. Net-net some changes but it’s still not final till the 21st of May so we’ll see it then.
In final public comment Sam Toll, editor of The Storey Teller got up to comment that restricting public records requests will have a chilling effect on our information as citizens. He felt that the comments made by Pat Whitten were solely aimed at him. He noted that Kris Thompson, TRIC employee, Planning Commissioner, and Lance Gilman roommate, has previously asked for significant public records in the past and nothing was said about that. Sam mentioned that he has offered to do the work himself to help get the records.
Kris Thompson got up and said that they paid to have that work done and that he wanted to know what Sam Toll has cost the county with his records requests.
The last Public Comment was from a Highlands resident asking that the speed on Lousetown be 25 mph the entire way instead of 35 mph at the top easing into 25 mph.
…..and then the meeting mercifully ended at 1:15