In what may (or may not) be an epic win for Storey County Taxpayers, the effort to use SB1 to fund the TRIC effluent pipeline has been withdrawn from consideration by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). Jeremy Aguero of Applied Analysis announced the decision at the January 18th GOED board meeting.
“I am here today to announce that we are withdrawing the economic development and financing proposal that was submitted to GOED several months ago. All the parties involved in the project understand that it is an important economic development effort and the project continues to move forward. The shift in approach is due technical challenges that were incurred when working through the details of original financing option,” explained Aguero.
Pipeline To Carry “Liquid Gold” To TRIC
The pipeline project was first floated in early 2017 when lawyers from Switch and the Tahoe Reno Industrial General Improvement (TRI-GID) began the heavy lifting of navigating the choppy waters of Truckee water rights. They needed to cut deals with the cities of Reno and Sparks, Washoe County and the water districts in the area.
The pipeline is designed to move effluent that would otherwise be discharged into the Truckee or pumped back into the ground to a treatment center in TRIC. This would provide the high tech occupants of the park with a plentiful and reliable source of water to cool the data server farms who enjoy 75% abatements of property and sales taxes thanks to legislation promoted by GOED.
County Taxpayers Opposed Paying For Project
Citizens and activists joined The Teller to express concern that creating a special tax district to divert property and sales taxes away from other uses in Storey County to pay for the pipeline. People in the county were adamant that the wealthy users of the water pay for the water and not encumber the taxpayers. Town hall meetings were organized by Jay Carmona, who recently announced he will seek the County Commissioner’s seat currently held by Jack McGuffey.
During a commissioners meeting, citizens spoke to oppose the use of taxpayer money to fund the pipeline. Nicole Barde of bardeblog.com covered the meeting (which you can read here) and The Teller wrote critically about the initial “financing option” here.
The Users Will Pay For The Water And The Pipeline – Or Will They?
“An alternative structure is being pursued that includes a special the development of a special improvement district, special assessment as well as a tax increment district through the states bond bank. This will mitigate the challenges that were originally encountered as well as facilitate the development of the pipeline project itself. The alternative approach does not require the creation of an economic development financing proposal or access to GOED’s bonding capacity, thus we withdraw this application today,” said Mr. Aguero.
He went on to say that he looked forward to working with Storey County Manager Pat Whitten to shepherd this project as time rolls on. So it looks like they are getting deep-pocket companies who will use the water to pay for some of the projects, but the use of the phrase “tax increment district” remains troubling.
Storey County Taxpayers In Peril. Still.
They probably still want to divert taxes that would normally come from to the coffers of Storey County. And we will continue to fight alongside you, gentle reader, to prevent this.
Once Mr. Aguero delivered his withdrawal, Governor Sandoval asked, “Short and sweet; so the State is out?”
“Um, no, no. I don’t think the state is necessarily out, per se. We’re continuing to move forward but the approach we are taking is without a doubt different. And so it doesn’t require GOED necessarily. And when we use the State’s Bond bank, I am hesitant to say the State is necessarily out,” stumbled Aguero.
Hmmm. Not Good.
Um, yeah. The State is not out. And neither are we.
What he said about continuing to work with Pat “a remarkable resource in this process” Whitten and Storey County does not bode well for us chumps, err…. taxpayers.
While we will continue to pursue this matter with al parties, we don’t expect to get much info from anyone. Trying to get information about this complex deal has been as hard as finding gold in the Lucerne Pit. At least GOED has a communication officer who responded (in an average of 10 days). Now that GOED is out of the picture, the cone of silence will surely descend on the matter.
Therefore it is critical to make sure you call Lance Gilman, Jack McGuffey and Marshall McBride to let them know you think the users of the pipeline should foot the bill, not us, the Storey County Taxpayers.
Don’t be invisible. Call or email and give ’em hell.
Marshall McBride – County Commissioner
Lance Gilman – Brothel Owner, TRIC executive and County Commissioner