A LEAK BY ANY OTHER NAME…………..
The agenda for this meeting can be found HERE, County Manager Pat Whitten’s summary HERE and a recording of the meeting HERE.
I’ll start with the end first. During the Public Comment section I got up to say that everyone in the County had received an anonymous letter directing the reader to a website. On that website there were several documents. Some of those documents were already public knowledge/domain but that the Keener/Antinoro sexual harassment investigation document was new, at least to me. I asked where I could get the full copy since the one on the website had been redacted and only started on page 35 or so. I was told by DA Anne Langer that the county policy prohibits the release of confidential information , that it didn’t get out from Storey County and that was all that would be said on the topic. Since Melanie Keener was at the meeting I asked her if she knew how the confidential report had made its way out there and she told me “I was asked by a lawyer for the report and I gave it to him. What happened after that, I don’t know”. I don’t know if it was her lawyer that she gave it to.
The meeting started with Staff updates. Some staff members mentioned this week-ends Street Vibrations and the need to close off “C” street and asked for patience on the part of residents and merchants.
Sheriff Antinoro noted that the co-operative agreement between the horse groups and the Department of Agriculture had imploded and that if people have horse issues that they are to call the Department of Agriculture directly since he and his office are no longer responsible for mitigation or removal. Later on County Manager Pat Whitten also noted that he had reached out to the governor’s chief of staff as well as Dept. of Ag Chief Barbie and has had no response as yet
Dave Ballard, Communications Manager provided some sad statistics. He said that they receive a teletype notice every time a public safety officer is killed. That so far there have been 90 police, 69 Fire Fighters and 28 canines who have died in the line of duty. He said that they always send a card when they get this news. He announced that his department was coordinating with the high school to honor those public safety officers at the October 8th game with Smith Valley in V.C.
Shaun Griffin, Executive Director of the Community Chest and County Library announced that the annual fundraiser will be on October 28th at Pipers. There will be more information coming out soon. He also had a bit of great news saying that the Pennington Foundation has agreed to give an additional $60k to complete the match required to get the full funding for the addition to the Center. What a wonderful thing for the community…we’re on the way!
Deny Dotson, VCTC Director, said that the Rodeo was well attended and was “an education”, that the VCTC will probably have to write a check (to cover expenses since revenues probably came in short) but that the seeds were planted for next time. He said that the promoters of the Rodeo, nationally known, had no idea that we had the arena facility and there were lots of future opportunities out there as a result of them being here.
SIDENOTE: The terms “learning curve”, “opportunity”, and “learning experience” are frequently used by Deny when something doesn’t pan out as expected or planned or it loses more money than expected. The Black and Howell building site was a poorly thought out “opportunity” and now an $80,000 mistake…there are other examples …. but I digress. Although I can see where you have to take a risk to test something, and that not all events may be capable of making money, the cost burden to support these risk laden decisions is going to be thrust upon the merchants of V.C. thru an additional assessment of some sort as discussed by Comptroller Hugh Gallagher in previous VCTC meetings. The tourism and lodging taxes are not enough to fuel Deny’s learning curve so the merchants will have to kick in. I just wonder if they will have any say in what risks he decides to take.
Pat Whitten and the commissioners said that the Camel Races were the best attended in quite a while and very successful. They had attended the rodeo and felt that it was a success as well. I just hope that the merchants made lots of sales.
The Millers, from the River District, gave a brief report on the use of the Louise Peri Park and asked for help on several repair items. Merilee Miller and Larry Huddleston then presented the Commission with a picture book on the 100 year history of the Lockwood area for inclusion in the new county museum. They spent many, many hours compiling it and went thru over 800 pictures to find the ones to include in the 38 page history. This was a tremendous effort on their and this compilation of the history of one of our communities is a real gift to the county.
County Comptroller High Gallagher reported that the audit process is going well and should be complete by November 30th. That although there are no issues the inclusion of new regulations will take some time to complete. Two things that the county will have to account for in the financial audit is the cost of the retirement liability that the county carries and the disclosure of the abatements granted to companies on real and personal property.
Pat Whitten reported that work on the parking lot adjacent to the Courthouse will begin soon and will be a disruption for a while and asks for patience during that time. He also commented on how good 342 looks now that it has been completed. He lauded CMI for stepping up and fixing the problem to the tune of $3 million dollars.
Under Board update Pat Whitten said that they are still trying to resolve the zip code issue thru the county lobbyists. You can read their report HERE.
Commissioner Jack McGuffey reported that the mattress drive for St. Mary’s Art Center is complete and was a success. The Center thanks those on the commission and community who contributed. He also gave a brief update on this month’s V&T Rail Commission meeting (My full report on this meeting will be up soon). He said that it was a long meeting and the rail line is not covering expenses. He further stated that some view the BDR (bill draft request) that Storey County has submitted to reduce the number on the rail commission as a good thing but that the BDR may not pass. Storey County has held back approximately $590k but will release $200k to go towards the repair of engine 18 by Tom Gray and a new interlocal agreement between Storey County and the rail Commission is being drafted.
Pat Whitten interjected that as a result of attending that meeting that he had confirmation of the lack of quality and discipline on the accounting and financials. That there was a lot of confusion on what was being reported. He said that Storey County has offered to do the books to help out. He also stated that there was no resistance to the BDR and that there was support to decrease the number of people on the commission. He said that the Chair of the Commission (Dwight Millard) was willing to co-market the rail line and Carson City and Virginia City.
Commission Chair Marshall McBride reported that there were about 450 BDR’s submitted to Legislature this session on a variety of issues including taxation and water issues. He also commented on the passing on Tom Gray’s mother Ardel Gray and offered condolences. Marshall said that if the Gray’s hadn’t bought the line in the 70’s VC would not have had the rail road ( short line) and that we all owe that family a debt of gratitude for both preserving our history and building a functioning line that still runs today.
Most of the agenda items were procedural and one required no action. Which brings us to the end which I covered at the beginning of this report!