Virginia City Highlands resident Jay Carmona organized a meeting at the Firehouse to learn more about the TRIC Pipeline Proposal that will use county tax revenue to repay over 29 years. The Governers Office of Economic Development is working with Storey County Commissioners, TRIC landowners and TRIC itself to take advantage of funds originally set aside for a now defunct Southern Nevada Business Development Center put in place by SB1 during a special Legislative Session in 2015.
County Planning Director Austin “I wear lots of hats” Osborne presented information to a full house of concerned Storey County Residents. His presentation described the process, the players and the repayment plan. His presentation included analogies with Coffee Cups, maps and a well delivered description of the process and the funding. Like any infrastructure deal, there are a myriad of details. This deal is particularly intricate as it involves two counties, 5 agencies and 70 separate entities not to mention scads of easements over the 13 miles of pipeline.
Jack McGuffey, Storey County Commissioner representing the Highlands, was seated in the front row and heard first hand the concerns of his constituents. After a 30 minute presentation by Mr. Osborne, the community asked a full hours worth of questions.
Included in any infrastructure deal is the detail of how to pay for it. Based on the tone of the questions asked, this was why the folks showed up. Questions for Mr. Osborne were all over the map and they focused on who would own the pipeline once completed (not us) and how the pipeline proposal would be paid for (by us).
The biggest takeaway from this meeting should be:
- The pipeline will directly benefit TRIC and Center occupants with industrial water they will use to build and grow their businesses with.
- The pipeline will be paid for with Storey County Taxes dollars, not with money from TRIC or businesses who are claimed to be “on the hook” for these payments by Commissioner Gilman’s Spokesman Kris Thompson.
- TRIC and the General Improvement District they operate will sell the water, presumably for a profit.
- If the businesses and TRIC paid for the pipeline themselves, Storey would enjoy 100% of the tax revenue.
The most significant thing we learned was the fact that, according to Mr. Osborne’s estimate, the county receives $3.5 Million Dollars from TRIC. This pipeline will cost the county 1.05 Million provided there are no cost overruns. Therefore, once completed, our net take from TRIC will go from $3.5 Million Dollars to $2.45 Million Dollars
- Current Tax Revenue: $3.5 Million
- Payment for pipeline: $1.05 Million
- Our new Net Net: $2.45 Million
While our tax revenue may go up next year, they may also go down. Either way we lose on this deal no matter how hard it is spun, packaged or bowtied.
The questions asked by the residents of Storey County left no question as to the sentiment of those in attendance felt. A petition sheet was passed around and not one signature of support was collected.
Yet with everyone in attendance opposed, I will not be surprised when the two Commissioners vote to approve this swindle next Tuesday.
The Audio of the Meeting is over an hour long. If you are remotely interested in what the county is proposing and would like to hear how your neighbors feel about it, you really should listen.
However you feel about this deal, let your commissioners know. If you can show up to the next meeting on August 15th, meet us there. If you can’t, call the people listed below and tell them how you feel. Fill up their voicemail box.
Don’t Be Invisible!
Pat Whitten – County Manager
Austin Osborne – Assistant County Manager, Human Resources Manager, Planning Director and whatever else Pat has him doing. Austin has the most hats of any working person in Storey County.
Marshall McBride – County Commissioner
Lance Gilman – Brothel Owner, TRIC executive and County Commissioner