It’s Deja Vu All over again; Yet Another Property Tax Rollback Promise.

Editors note:

There is a fair amount to digest below, so sit back and enjoy the ride. Or you can check out your InstaGram and Facebook memes.

First, The Tax Rollback Back Story…


The final Commissioners meeting of 2014 was noteworthy for a number of reasons. Bill Sjovangen and Bill Maddox were finally taking their rightful seat in the rear view mirror. Jack McGuffey’s fanny was getting it’s first taste of the plushness of his freshly minted Commissioners seat. However, in light of events during the two most recent Commissioner meetings, the most noteworthy statements made by the county leadership cabal on December 2, 2014 discuss; 1) Property Tax Rollbacks and 2) Compensation Study to enrich the bank accounts of the most deserving people in his realm, those holding “Key Storey County Management Positions”* That’s right. Since Storey County was the richest county in the world in 2014, it was proposed to both roll back taxes and giving raises to the top tier of salary earners. If you could bet on one of these two things happening, which one would you (literally) put your money on?

Mustang Ranch Brothel Owner, TRIC Real Estate Salesman and County Commissioner Lance Gilman began by going on the record with the first of his two announcements;  that he was directing county employees to conduct a study on the happy notion of rolling back property taxes in light of the crushing economic success of TRIC’s signing Tesla** and other companies to the Center. Below I have provided the audio of his welcome effort:

 

Let’s hone in on this part:

“Its my belief that the time is right to put a plan in place for all residents of Storey County to share in the financial success of TRIC and this Tesla transaction. It’s my opinion that all too often government simply grow and grow and grow and government always seems to need more money, and to raise more taxes and fees and to create more regulation.

So I’m suggestion today that it is a plan of all of ours here to establish an atmosphere in our little Storey County that government be only as large as it needs to be in order to provide the key government services that we all need desire and want. We definitely need to protect our public to a high level and that taxes and fees should be lowered when the circumstances allow government to do that.

Growth in the size and scope of government and higher taxes is not the inevitable result of success by private business owners in a local community and economy. I believe it’s time to start sharing our wealth.”

I have been banging on this drum every chance I get because, as is customary with the elected political elite, the talk doesn’t match the walk.

I don’t have enough fingers and toes to keep track of the times I have heard that Storey County is the richest county in the entire United States. As an eternal skeptic my reply is: Got Facts? I am pretty sure Douglas County crushes us here in little ‘ol Nevada. For those of us in the audience who have been to Connecticut or the Hamptons, I am pretty sure there are individual households there with more liquid assets tied up in the silverware drawer than we have seen around here since like 1872.

As a person who believes Taxation Is Theft, the notion of rolling taxes back warms the icy regions of my two-sizes-too-small heart; I hear about cutting taxes and get all juicy.  People tell me that this statement has been made by Mr. Gilman since the campaign of his first election in 2012. Sadly, we sit here in 2017 with the same empty words and no tax rollback. Jack McGuffey is heard claiming he ran on the same tough on taxes platform. Listen to 2014 campaign forums between Nicole Barde and Jack McGuffey here and here to see if you can find the place where he can be heard making such statements. I am told that in no ad he ran or in any exchange he had publicly can such a statement be heard. If you have a copy of the paper that makes such statements, send it my way so I can correct this piece. Please.

On the heels of the December 2, 2014 proclamation, Santa Claus Gilman delivered this Christmas letter to his willing subjects:

Happy Holiday’s, Subjects!

In fact after the 60 days had come and passed (actually a little over a year and 60 days), on April 19th, 2016, Nicole Barde made note of the lack of follow through on the part of the Commissioners by asking about a report that Kris Thompson, Gilman operative, referred to on the Virginia City Highlands Chat Group. The interaction during public commentary at the end of this meeting is revealing:

 

So according to Kris Thompson,  TRIC executive and not County Commissioner Gilman dropped nearly 20k to produce a report whose express purpose was to justify tax rollbacks for Storey County Taxpayers and not one person holding “Key Storey County Management Positions” has a copy? Has seen a copy? Has even a foggy notion of what the report contains?

Property Tax Rollback
Mmmmmk, if you say so…

 

Here is what Mustang Ranch Tenant and TRIC underling Kris Thompson’s post on the Chat Group said (my comment in red. I edited half the post for brevity, the original can be found here).

This will respond to Ms. Barde’s post where she claims Lance has been “overselling” the economic success of Storey County, and that his statements at the hearing on the budget about the economic outlook are different from those statements he made last year, and she even includes one statement he made in 2014.  Storey County in the last 15 years has been wildly successful, going from the poorest County in Nevada, to the richest as far jobs/resident (more than 1.5 jobs per resident) (considering there are 4500+/- residents, that represents 6750 jobs total in the count; since people have jobs outside TRIC, Big Whoopie Ding Dong) and capital investment per resident (but not where it counts; in wealth).   And up until this year it has looked good.  The agenda item under discussion was the budget for NEXT YEAR.  Not now, not three months ago, and not 2014.  Next budget year – beginning July 1, 2016 (I call pants on fire. The agenda item has never borne fruit. As the facts contained in the audio you will hear below reflect, today we are in Budget Year 2018-19, sans rollback. Flaming. Pants).
This may be a shock to Ms. Barde, but the economic outlook for next year is not identical to this current year or to last year. Sales and construction cycles are not identical year to year (yes, shocking)
Then Ms. Barde claims Lance’s request a year and a half ago to look at some tax relief for residents has been declared dead.  Not true.  At Lance’s request and direction, we at TRI spent $19,000 with an independent outside consultant doing our own study of ways for Storey County residents to get some tax reductions without harming revenue to the County from businesses at TRI.   Lance put his money behind his statements (money behind statements but not actual action; in Texas they call guys like Lance “All Hat, No Cattle”).   In addition, Lance fully supports the comptrollers recent idea for a tax rebate program and will continue to push for it. He thinks residents, who are stakeholders in the success of the County, should be able to realize benefits from the economic success in the County.  Lance feels that if businesses in the County, the County government, and County employees are sharing in the success by seeing increases in their revenue, so should residents see some reduction in their tax obligations to the County (to date this remains pure fantasy)
So that pretty much covers most of the back story.. Whew!

Now we fast forward to the June 20th, 2017 Commissioner Meeting where Nicole Barde coined the term Electile Dysfunction (you can read her BardeBlog Post here and what I wrote about what she wrote here)
First off, here is Commissioner Jack McGuffey’s reading his prepared proclamation evoking the ghost of the December 2nd 2014 Proclamation of Commissioner Gilman (in doing so, he raises his head off the table for the first time since elected and launches his re-election campaign):
Jack here by demands that we roll back the taxes now, today, on June 20th, 2017, so the rollback will take effect on July 1, 2017 for the 2017-2018 tax year thus delivering on his Lances’s campaign promise. As you can hear, Lance is behind him 100%. OooRah! Let’s do this thing!
But there is a teeny problem. It’s called the Law. Controller Gallagher is not really sure we can actually do it. Let’s listen here (this clip is 16 minutes long and the last 5 or so contains an exchange that reminded me of Bud Abbot and Lou Costello’s immortal comedy skit “Who’s on First?“). Thus a special followup meeting had to be scheduled so everyone could figure out what end is up:
So the stage is set for the special meeting on Friday June 30th, the last day of the fiscal budget. The leadership cabal has set up a meeting to make good on the mythical December 2nd, 2014 Property tax rollback. A meeting at the last minute of the last day of the budget year without any discussion of Revenue Projections, Budget Contingencies or anything that could be mistaken for sober planning.
Jack flashes some leadership cred and suddenly we have a special meeting set up when Whitten and Langer won’t be able to attend. What could possibly go wrong? Well as it turns out, Nothing. Because Hugh was right. You simply can’t monkey with the budget after it is submitted by it’s deadline.

Here is Comptroller Gallagher with the bad news for Jack’s re-election campaign and the editor of The Teller asking why it took so long to wait to the last minute of the last hour on the last day for the Property Tax Rollback to happen anyway…

 

So there you have it. As Jack points out, at least we aren’t raising taxes…

Once again, the Commission commanded that a resolution be made at the next available Commission meeting to have a plan for a plan to reduce the property taxes yet again. Happily, they said they wanted to do the tax roll backs over ten years. Juicy.

Quick timeline review:

  • December 2, 2014 commission meeting Lance Gilman commands the staff to do a study on a tax rollback – nothing happens
  • In the same meeting a compensation study is commissioned to increase the pay of key Storey County Management positions – this happens
  • December 17, 2014 Lance Gilman sends out his Yuletide proclamation of abundance declaring that “the massive near term capital investments” of TRI companies should result in tax decreases – nothing happens
  • April 2016 Kris Thompson declaring that Lance Gilman has privately funded a $19,000 study to determine how to to give Storey county residents a tax cut – nothing happens, the report’s existence is denied by the commission.
  • June 20, 2017 Jack McGuffey demands an immediate tax rollback so he can meet his prior campaign promises which results in a special meeting being called to determine if it can be done in the 2017/018 tax year – nothing happens
  • June 30, 2017 during the special tax meeting it is determined that no tax rollback can be made in this tax year and that a resolution needs to be made in the next meeting to plan for a plan to roll back taxes over 10 years. Will something meaningful in terms of a juicy tax cut actually happen this time? (spoiler alert: nothing happened)
It kinda feels like we’re all just little mice chasing a piece of cheese on a string tied to the end of Lance Gilman’s finger; we can’t quite seem to catch it since it’s a moving target.
Time to demand the tax rollback that has been promised for so many years. If county management can find the money to bloat the payroll, add bodies to the employee count and give itself juicy compensation increases, they can reduce our taxes. If the county can pay Gary Hames over $24,000 a month, they can reduce our taxes. If the county can afford to buy and pay for a $1 million dollar parking lot and other real estate purchases, they can reduce our taxes. 
If the merry TRICsters truly made Storey county “the richest place on earth” then the “Key Storey County Management Positions” can reduce our taxes. Or is it perhaps that those TRICsters only made a few people rich and the person who, in his yuletide letter, claims to serve us actually has it backwards?

Any way you slice it, here we sit, in last place. As usual.

How you like them Onions, Storey County?




* Part Two of this story will dive into the compensation of “Key Storey County Management Positions”. Fun!

** If you think Tesla would have set up shop in the land of the merry TRICsters with out Governor Sandoval signing over Storey County Tax Revenues for 10 and 20 years, you simply aren’t paying close enough attention.

Mad Props to Jed Margolin for his excellent site without which this article would not be possible.

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