Nicole Barde

You can find the agenda packet HERE, County manager Austin Osborn’s summary HERE and a recording of the meeting HERE.

This was a short meeting lasting just an hour. The majority of items were fairly procedural and I leave it to Austin to provide that summary.

Congratulations to Charles and Candace Pitts of the Sugarloaf Mountain Motel for being 2019 Storey County Business of the Year! It takes a lot of work to run a business but these wonderful folks bought one and improved it to a high level of service….that’s tough. It’s a well earned award.

Key takeaways for me were that the County will ask the Porter Group to focus their lobbying skills at a number of things including getting federal transportation monies as well as grants for I.T projects…AND a new set of zip codes for Lockwood, the Highlands and Mark Twain so that we will be linked to Storey County in all things…especially online taxes.

The Commission approved a contract with Motorola Solutions for the purchase, upgrade, installation, and maintenance of the county’s 911 emergency radio communication system. The cost is approximately $1.7 Million dollars.

The Commissioners reappointed two incumbents to the Planning Commission and Austin will be interviewing the applicants for the at large position in the next several weeks.

The full list of all Commission appointees to the 23 special County and State Boards was approved except for the VCTC Board. There was an error in not printing all of the board members who are appointed so that will get approved at the next meeting.

SIDENOTE– I have asked this before and gotten no real answer but….how do you get selected for these boards? Some are required to have a sitting Commissioner or other NRS prescribed people, a few are actually posted, some are just appointed and then approved…like this list today. Always the same people.


Seeing that it is the New Year, I thought that I’d end this short report with just a few of the things that I am looking forward to in 2020. There are things from last year that still need to be resolved or finished, some things that are upcoming and some things we have no clue about. I’m just going to list those that are top of mind for now.

Looking forward to hearing if the Tesla Agreement has been signed and if Tesla is paying us. I have heard that they have not. The number is substantial.

Looking forward to hearing from the Commission as to the results of their due diligence on the TRI GID. They were asked to take it over by that Board of Directors.

It’s a can of worms which includes an incomplete board, calling into question its viability, as well as the fact that all of the existing members work for Commissioner, brothel owner, TRI principal, former BLOCKCHAINS worker, aspiring hemp grower and new best friend to the city of Fernley Lance Gilman. That makes it look like it is a private entity. Having the Commission take it over makes it look better and potentially shifts liability and responsibility to the County.

Additionally, they are embarking on an Eminent Domain action which is likely to embroil them in legal issues for a while. Which, if they look like, walk like and smell like a private entity they can’t do Eminent Domain now can they? Oh wait, if the Commission takes it over they can! Operations and financing aside the issues going forward will likely be around the effluent pipeline and the use of that water as well as other water rights issues. Does the County REALLY want to get involved in that?

In the parlance of my youth…this is a sticky booger. I hope that the Commission is able to sidestep this thing. It is not the Commissions problem it is the Developers problem.

Looking forward to seeing what the actual Capital Improvement Plan will look like. At all of Commissioner, brothel owner, TRI principal, former BLOCKCHAINS worker, aspiring hemp grower and new best friend to the city of Fernley Lance Gilman’s end of year proclamation of abundance performances in November/December 2019 he stated, yet again, that we will VERY SOON be awash with money from TRIC revenues….so much money in fact that we can build skating rinks and pools in each community if we wanted them. I say this without exaggeration…he actually said that…to lots of people…at several meetings.

Lance said a lot during those meetings…..more importantly, he revealed what is so wrong with government ( and Developers for that matter) regardless of politics. The attitude of SPEND. SPEND. SPEND other peoples money. And in this case, spend it on anything and everything before they take it away.

He stated that the TRIC cash cow is finally producing A LOT of revenue. That the surrounding counties and the state will once again try, and likely succeed, in taking some of those revenues to offset the huge infrastructure expenses that TRIC employees have caused in their communities. He said that we need to spend as much of that money as fast as we can before that happens.

A couple of things to remember here. One is that the county owes Roger Norman upwards of $45 million dollars and per the TRI agreement we are required to pay Roger 35% of TRI revenues collected, above a certain threshold, back to him. That is UNLESS a new agreement is forged. Roger isn’t happy with the current terms and wants his money sooner. This has been in the works for most of 2019. The second thing to remember is that TRIC costs A LOT of money to maintain. What will be left over for the rest of the county after we pay Roger his 35% and after we do the expensive and extensive ongoing infrastructure and services work required at TRIC?

Lance noted that Storey County has not kept up with much of its needed infrastructure repair or replacement…which is true….we never had the money to do it and luckily now we do. He said that the department managers are developing a capital spending plan to get everything that they feel is needed and beyond. Hopefully, they bake in all the added expense to maintain this stuff going into the future since we won’t be getting all of the TRIC revenues. When you buy an expensive full option car the cost of maintenance, insurance, repair etc is also very expensive…..I hope that the actual fully burdened “cost of ownership” is part of the future affordability assessments of all of these Capital Projects.

Hopefully, the new systems can provide higher levels of efficiency allowing us to decrease our overhead burden and provide quicker, better, cheaper services. Our payroll costs are over 80% of the County expenses. If we are going to spend money, then I would hope that it will be spent to decrease some of those expenses by decreasing the need to hire more people as transactional and information services increase over time.

While it is true that Storey County needs to invest in its infrastructure and replace the antiquated systems and equipment ( like the approved communications upgrades) Lance also said that now is the time to dream big and get whatever our little hearts desire!

I desire lower taxes and fees….I still remember Lance’s 2014 proclamation of abundance where he promised tax rollbacks….still waiting for that and wondering if this is just yet another head fake.

Looking forward to seeing if or how the surrounding counties and the state moves in to take the TRIC revenues away from Storey County and how much that leaves us to support our shiny new ice rinks and swimming pools. This will be interesting to watch. It will be Sausage of the highest order.

Looking forward to seeing the new 20202021 budget. The rate of increase in expenses year over year has been higher than the rate of increase in revenues. I hope that the TRIC and Tesla monies really do kick in and that we are better able to control our expense growth. I also hope that we are able to “bank” a good portion of the tsunami of TRIC revenues for a rainy day rather than spend it all.

Looking forward to seeing how the Opportunity Zone designation plays out in Storey County and whom it will benefit.

Looking forward to a happy and healthy New Year for all of us!

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