- Storey County Commissioners Approve The TRIC Pipeline Proposal to Move Forward
- Fulcrum Bio-Energies financing bonds also approved providing an interesting contrast to the TRIC pipeline proposal
- Details Of The TRIC Proposal are nearly identical to the old deal that was nixed by the State of Nevada; only semantics seem to separate the two proposals
- Storey County Taxpayers will again be forced to pay for the TRIC pipeline should it pass in its current configuration
- Long Sales Pitch, Short On Substance
- TRIC-GID – What’s the deal?
- Deafening silence from one significant member of the audience
Storey County Commissioners Approve Moving Forward On TRIC Pipeline Proposal
At the August 7th County Commissioner Meeting, The County Commissioners voted to take the first step in approving the Effluent Pipeline, The Teller has written extensively about the pipeline project here and here and here and here.
The new proposal breaks down like this:
- The proposed pipeline will be part of an expansion of the TRIC-GID which includes:
- The effluent pipeline
- A new treatment center
- A delivery system that will distribute the treated water to TRIC-GID clients
- Bonds will be issued to Storey County and then transferred/sold to the State of Nevada to finance the pipeline
- A Special Assessment District (SAD) will be created to collect money from the Developers to make the bond payments to the State of Nevada.
- A Tax Increment Area (TIA) will be created to reimburse the Developers for the money they spent to make the bond payments from future tax revenues.
- All infrastructure will be given to the TRIC-GID once operational for them to operate and maintain.
For those of you who haven’t read the articles connected to the above links, this project will build a pipeline transporting 1.3 million gallons of effluent from TMWRF’s Sparks facility to a processing facility at TRIC. This water will be used by businesses as they expand their facilities within the SAD and TIA.
But First A Word From The Other Bond Deal Passed At The Meeting
Before I get into the granular and (mostly) boring details of the pipeline proposal it is important to look at the other bond deal passed at the meeting. Before the discussion on the pipeline deal got underway Pat Whitten scolded the public for being tempted to use the term Corporate Welfare and asked us to refer to the proposal instead as a Public-Private Partnership.
He then asked all the players in the pipeline proposal to stand up. People from Switch, Tesla, Reno Properties, Blockchains, and other companies recognized as titans of Storey County Industry. In doing so he seemed to somehow bestow upon them mythical and magical status from the top of Sun Mountain. Wonderful people. Really, just wonderful, great people representing wonderful companies. Great, great companies. Just Great.
Remaining seated was the representative from Fulcrum Bio-Energies. When the agenda moved to Fulcrum she was not asked to rise. But she should have been.
Fulcrum’s $ 40 million bond deal was on the agenda because Storey County is required to sign off on the deal itself. By doing so, the County indicates that the bonds and the company seeking them are legit and not a group of Nigerian Princes trying to scam the bond issuers. With a perfunctory gesture, the deal was done; the commissioners approved the matter and the meeting recessed for a break to let the crowd who “may be timid and not want to approach the podium” to talk to the great and wonderful people representing the great and wonderful companies.
Fulcrum Bio-Energies is a small, privately held company. While I am can only imagine they will be getting some taxpayer love because of the “greenness” of their business model, they aren’t asking Storey County Taxpayers to pay for their infrastructure improvements directly.
During public comment I made a brief statement about the contrast of the two deals; Fulcrum Bio-Energies was raising the money and expecting to pay it back without the benefit of Corporate Welfare, I mean, a Public Private Partnership.
Back To The Pipeline Proposal
Under the current plan, Telsa, Switch, Google and others (The Developers), will pay for the treatment center and the delivery system directly out of their own pockets without asking for taxpayer involvement.
They are asking Storey County Officials to borrow money by issuing bonds that will later be sold/transferred to the State of Nevada. Storey County will then create the SAD from an area at TRIC that currently contains barren unimproved land owned by the Developers. The Developers within this SAD will be expected to make the payments on the bonds from this Special Assesment. The bond terms will be somewhere between 20 and 30 years and will require roughly $3 million dollars a year in debt service.
Once the bonds are acquired and the pipeline is built, the pipeline along with the processing facility and the delivery system will become the property of the TRIC-GID.
Next, the county will create a TIA. First, the County will analyze the current taxes generated by the land within the TIA. This baseline should be very small as the land is unimproved and zoned agricultural thus generating very little in tax revenue. Once this baseline is established, it will be the measure to calculate the reimbursement of the developers for the money they spent on the bond debt service.
As the properties are improved; building built and filled with servers or manufacturing or whatever, the TIA will siphon all funds above the established baseline to repay the Developers for the money they paid on the bonds inside the SAD.
I asked on the record that if these funds were not otherwise diverted, they would be used just like all other tax revenue. Reluctantly, everyone agreed that the diverted funds would have been used by the State and County as they saw fit.
They agreed that, just like the old deal, tax dollars that would otherwise be used to provide services to the taxpayers of Nevada and Storey County will instead be given to some of the Country’s wealthiest companies.
Long on Flash, Short on Substance
The presentation was much like the last one with well-paid pitchmen leading the charge. Jeremy Aguero of Applied Analysis (the guys spending $ 750 million dollars of public money to finance the Raiders Stadium) was back in full pitch mode. However, there was very little actual substance. How much per year are the payments> I had to make a phone call after the meeting to get you the information in the article because it was not to be found in the presentation. Other information missing or obscured include how they came up with the figure of $ 35 million and what protection we have against is becoming $50 or $75 million, what the exact terms of the bonds are (20, 25 and 30 years were all listed) and so on. I guess it’s like Nancy Pelosi said, “We have to pass it to know what’s in it”. Luckily the Commissioners did just that.
What’s The Dang Deal With The TRIC-GID?
During my public comment, what began as a well-planned set of questions about the proposal went sideways when I started talking about the TRIC-GID. I was trying to clarify the troubling picture of the TRIC-GID my research has uncovered. Sadly, I didn’t succeed.
In fact, I went so far into the topic that Commissioner McBride reminded me that the agenda item was not about the TRIC-GID and suggested I was grandstanding by not making my point quickly and clearly. For that, I apologize to Commissioner McBride and the audience.
I’ll save my findings with the TRIC-GID for another article.
The Heard and The Unheard; Public Comment
A parade of glad-handers from the “private partners” thanked the County for committing taxpayer dollars to fund their pipeline project.
Nicole Barde read a brief yet powerful statement into the record about the fact that (as usual) the residents whose tax dollars are being used to reimburse the wealthy companies were not in the conversation. Like the TRIC-GID, I will address her comments in a forthcoming article.
Carson City Resident, Comstock Mining Executive, and Storey County Taxpayer Scott Jolcover came to the podium and declared his support for the proposal, calling it “good business”.
Jay Carmona attended the meeting but chose not to share his thoughts on the pipeline proposal with the Commissioners or the audience. I reached out to Mr. Carmona via email after the meeting requesting his perspective and he replied with “no comment”.
Listen to the audio of it all here:
The Packet material can be found here:pipelinepres2018