By Nicole Barde
Last week, “ the Reno City Council unanimously approved the agreement between Tahoe Reno Industrial General Improvement District (TRIGD), the City of Reno and the City of Sparks as owners of the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility for delivery and use of treated effluent. This agreement will allow TRIGD to purchase 4,000 acre-feet annually of treated effluent from Reno and Sparks for the purposes of providing manufacturing processed water. The initial term of the agreement is for 30 years, which can be extended for two successive periods of 20 years each upon mutual written agreement.”
You can find the agenda packet for this meeting HERE.
Last week the City of Sparks also approved the agreement.
I listened to the Reno proceedings and there were a few points that struck me.
There was a question asked about not having Reno residents on the hook for the cost of the pipeline as well as a question about what happens if there is no revenue with which to pay for the pipeline once the agreement is finalized.
The council was told that there are revenue models in place that project adequate revenues out at TRIC and that there are provisions for alternate sources of revenue and so there was no risk to Reno, or its residents , for the cost of the pipeline itself.
I find this interesting. In attending the Storey County Commission meetings I don’t think that I have heard that there are “alternate sources of revenues”. I have heard that the county is trying to get TRIC principals Roger Norman and Commissioner Lance Gilman to “backstop” the county if the county is unable to pay the bond payment for any given year but that was only mentioned as a wish on Storey County’s part. The comment at the Reno meeting made it sound like it is a definite element to the pipeline payments. Hummmmmm….interesting since there has been no mention of anything definite in the Storey County commission meetings.
The gentleman from Switch got up to say that the Companies at TRIC are paying for the bond.
The companies at TRIC pay TAXES. Everybody pays TAXES. There are no additional monies being paid by TRIC companies to pay the bond. The bond will be paid by TAXES at TRIC.
TAXES which are paid to Storey County which are to go to improve county wide services and our communities in support of our citizens. The TAXES paid by TRIC companies are being diverted away from the general support of county wide services and community improvements in order to enrich ONE organization….TRIC which is Commissioner Lance Gilman and Roger Norman.
I will keep saying this until I am hoarse and can’t type anymore……………THIS IS A DEVELOPER EXPENSE…NOT A COUNTY/GOVERNEMENT EXPENSE……..this is corporate welfare.
There was a question about the States generating of the bond to finance the pipeline and who was ultimately responsible for those payments. The council was told that the State is generating the bonds but that it is on Storey County to pay the bond back over time.
There was a question about who is backstopping the TRICGID if they can’t meet the
Agreements terms or timeline. The council was told that as a governmental agency that Storey County is the backstop if the TRIGID defaults on the agreement or goes belly up.
This was interesting to me. I had asked in a Commissioners meeting if Storey County had anything to do with the TRICGID and was told no, that they are their own entity. I asked the question because according to all of the presentations I’ve seen at the Commission Meetings Roger Norman is funding the $30 million dollar TRICGID improvements that are required to connect to the pipeline , deliver the effluent and deal with the return of the effluent water. I wanted to know if Storey had to pay for that in any way.
According to what the Reno City Council was told it means that if Roger and Lance decide to pull back their funding of the TRICGID that Storey County and it’s residents are on the hook for both the cost of the TRICGID improvements and meeting the effluent agreement with Reno and Sparks.
The final Management agreement still being crafted and the rate for the purchase of the effluent is still not set but there are two rates. The rates are tied to some metrics to ensure that future value is captured. This was brought up at the last City Council meeting so that the Council would be able to continually capture the real-time value of the water in the future. This is smart on their part. Without the ability to “slide” with the market price of the water it’s like getting locked in to selling your gold for $300 an ounce in 1985 and losing out on its future appreciation.
These were the main points that stuck with me and I have to say that I am still not convinced that the whole bond thing is as easy as the Storey County Commission and TRIC has made it out to be. There are a lot of moving parts to it and I am still waiting to see how the County will ensure that the rest of the taxpayers ( non TRIC) are not on the hook for this corporate welfare bill should something happen to revenues out of TRIC.