WHEN DOES A TAX INCREASE HAVE NO DOWNSIDE?……WHEN IT’S ON A STOREY COUNTY BALLOT.
By Nicole Barde
Before the meeting summary I’d like to take time to talk about a recent issue.
On Thursday I got down to looking at the sample ballot for the election. When I got to the last part on Question 16-001, the fuel tax increase, I found that there was no “arguments against passage” as required by law. I reported this to the Clerk’s Office.
This means that every Storey County voter has incorrect/incomplete information on this tax. It’s an unfortunate oversight but how will the county get the right information out to the voters so that this is a valid vote?
There are a few arguments against that I can think of such as ….it’s money out of our pockets if we fill up at any of the stations in Storey County including the one in V.C., it will not go down and although it has a sunset I don’t know that it will sunset.
This has happened once before that I know of. During the 2010 election when the ¼ cent sales tax to fund the extension of the V&T Rail thru V.C was voted on. It was missing the “fiscal impact ” of the measure.
What an unfortunate coincidence.
On to the Commission Meeting:
This was a fairly procedural meeting and Pat Whitten’s update covers the main points.
The Staff updates were relatively brief. Fire Chief Hames reported that one of our engines responding to the Little Valley Fire was damaged by the fire, it was not occupied at the time, and that he was thankful that there were no injuries during the fire. Pat Whitten also reported that due to the potential threat to VC and the Highlands that the county’s command center was quickly set up and began to monitor and report on the incident. I for one am very grateful for the ongoing updates and the vigilance of the entire responder crew…thanks to all!
County Clerk Vanessa Stephens reported that we have 3024 voters registered in Storey County. That’s an amazing number since we only have a bit over 4000 residents. Let’s hope they all come out to vote.
During Board updates Commissioner Jack McGuffey thanked the DA’s office for the work they did to find a legal way for the county to pave Cartwright Road in the Highlands. Cartwright is a county road only for the first mile, after that it’s private and the county can’t do work on private roads. I don’t know the exact rule they used but Cartwright is paved thanks to their research. Thanks! Jack also asked if the Highland’s gazebo would be getting attention now that Miners Park in VC was complete.
County Comptroller Hugh Gallagher gave an update on the first quarter budget actuals. He said that the review process is great for cross departmental communications, in particular for identifying where certain expenses should go between the departments. He said it’s a good Q1 report.
In a nutshell the department’s expenses are all coming in at between 15-20% of budget compared to the 25% mark, which is where they should be for the first quarter. Ad valorum is up 35% over budget but $300k below this time in the last budget. The General Fund is about $250k less in revenue compared to last year….there is a decrease in building permits over last year at this time.
There were some issues with some departments but it’s too early in the budget cycle to know if there are any real issues yet. I reviewed the detail of the data provided in the packet and agree that it may be too early to tell on expenses but the slow/low revenue numbers are troubling to me unless it’s a seasonality/timing issue. With all the construction and business license activity we’ve seen at TRI…why is ad valorum and building permit revenue down compared to last year?
Agenda Item # 10 was pushed out to the November meeting. It’s the “TRI Audit of project revenue and net revenue of the TRI Public-Private Partnership for the year ended June 30, 2015”
Item # 11 was the Memorandum of Understanding between Storey and Dayton Valley Conservation District for noxious weed abatement in Six Mile and Seven Mile Canyons, Gold Hill, Gold Canyon, VC and American Flat. The MOU was approved but there was also discussion about the white top proliferation in both the Highlands and along the river in Lockwood. These both need to be addressed as well.