Coverage of Pipeline Deal in Local Media Outlets
On August 7th, the Storey County Commissioners voted to move forward on the proposed Pipeline Project at TRIC. Four places wrote about the meeting; the Comstock Chronicle, Storey County, bardeblog.com and The Storey Teller. In this article will compare and contrast that coverage that each entity provided to their audience.
Comstock Chronicle’s Coverage
In the August 10th issue of the Comstock Chronicle covered the pipeline which you can read below. The Chronicle’s coverage paints the picture of the pipeline as a great idea, which it is. The companies need the water for their manufacturing processes and to cool server farm. They list the 5 developers, Tesla, Switch, Google, Reno Properties, and Emerald City Empire. The last two companies are ones that need the water to fuel their land speculation aspirations. Emerald City Empire wants to build a huge lake in the middle of their sprawling 10,000 family smart city. They need this effluent water to fill that lake. Reno Properties hasn’t really revealed their intentions; they are a quiet developer that is currently working on the Meadowood Mall.
The coverage in the Chronicle is exactly what we’ve come to expect from a paper that wouldn’t exist without state mandated taxpayer funded advertising. They highlight all the great things and completely omit the one little detail that has the greatest impact on the future of the county.
Storey County’s Coverage
If the Comstock Chronicle’s coverage is at one side of the “not covering all the salient points” spectrum, Storey County’s coverage is downright opaque. Not only do they leave out the key point that makes the pipeline a bad deal for the citizens of Storey County, they leave out everything and give an account so sparse you don’t actually know what the resolution is actually about.
This lack of communication is exactly why people are so ready for a change in leadership come November.
Here is what Pat Whitten’s newsletter says about the pipeline proposal (which you can read here):
Approved Resolution 18-501 approving the economic development financing proposal for the effluent pipeline for certain properties in the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center; directing the Clerk of the County to notify the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the Interim Finance Committee of the Nevada Legislature of the County’s approval; and providing other details in connection therewith.
Approved Resolution 18-502 concerning the financing of natural resource projects; directing the Clerk of the County to notify the Interim Finance Committee of the Nevada Legislature of a request for approval pursuant to NRS 278C.157 and 278C.280; and providing other details in connection therewith.
Seriously? Other details in connection herewith? Any reason why those details are not provided herewith? How about a sniff about what those details actually might be. I can’t wait until we get someone in there who has the integrity to share with the citizens of the county what our leaders are up to. Yeesh.
Having attended 125 Commissioner meetings (more meetings than Lance Gilman) since 2012, Nicole Barde has seen her share of county chicanery and shenanigans. Her report on this meeting (which you can read in it’s entirety here) is, as always, detailed and comes with plenty of context:
Recall that last year when this came before the Commission they also approved it to proceed at that time. The deal at that time (my articles HERE and HERE) basically had the future tax revenue of the companies involved ( Tesla, Switch, Google, etc) paying for the $35 Million Dollar pipeline directly thru a special Tax Increment Area.
They proposed that the revenues currently being received from the TIA would get locked in (we would continue to get those taxes and revenues now and in the future) but that any future revenue above that baseline is “incremental” and it is THAT future tax that would be used to pay for the pipeline. It was emphasized, with a straight face I might add, that the COMPANIES were going to pay for their own pipeline in this way.
I opposed it then on the basis that ANY and ALL revenue coming from TRIC belongs to the citizens of Storey County, that NO, it is not the companies paying for it, it is the citizens who pay since that revenue would not be available to the County to provide services to our communities and the people in them.
Then we heard that the state had not approved THAT financing scheme and have heard nothing until…..this meeting.
Later on in the article she wrote:
Yes, people hate it when I use all caps but this time I am justified. Read that again. The companies will be paying for their own bond ( SAD) but then the county and state reimburses them for the bond payment by giving them back any taxes they pay (TIA) . It was said in the meeting that it was a great thing for the companies to be able to use their taxes to fund their own capital improvements!!
This is NOT capitalism in a free market…this is corporate welfare….uh …I mean corporate partnership….or a shell game.
YES!!! I want to apply to the county to let me use my own taxes for capital improvements on my well which I have just paid over $20k to get repaired. Oh…and my solar battery bank which needs to be replaced….that’s infrastructure.
Oh, and the Red Dog just put in this fantastic outdoor stage, I’m sure that they would love to take their taxes and pay for that infrastructure.
And then….after the companies use their own…er…OUR taxes to build the pipeline….that pipeline goes to the TRI GID….for free….as an asset!
Once again I say…..SHOW ME THE MONEY! The county has yet to provide any forward looking projections of revenues and expenses to back up its claim that TRIC revenues in the future will be gushing forth to provide us all with a better quality of life. How can I trust that the money will be coming in if they don’t do their job and due dilligence to prove it to me?
This is exactly the kind of stuff that is necessary to tell the whole story about what is being proposed. It is exactly what is missing from the “official media sources” from Storey County.
The Teller’s Coverage
We wrote two articles about the pipeline so far (which you can read here and here). Our coverage showed the new deal to be a near carbon copy of the old deal, but was as thick on the details of the proposal as the Chronicle and the County were thin:
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 Storey County 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
Can’t Wait For November
So there you have it. When you want the whole story on the business of Storey County, read bardeblog.com and The Teller. And in November, do the research and see which candidate will do a better job of standing up for the people and communicate exactly what the ramifications of the decisions will be on the community.
Fun Fact: Storey County Commissioner Candidate Nicole Barde will be conducting town hall meetings to discuss the new pipeline proposal.
September 4th in The Virginia City Highlands at the Fire House from 6:00pm to 7:30
September 6th in Lockwood, location tbd