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Pipeline to TRIC

VCH “Town Hall” Learns About TRIC Pipeline Proposal

Jay Carmona Leads the Meeting
Jay Carmona Leads the Meeting

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.

Austin was not wearing any hats during the presentation.
Austin was not wearing any hats during the presentation.

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

  • pwhitten@storeycounty.org
  • 775-847-0968

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.

  • aosborne@storeycounty.org
  • 775-847-0968

Marshall McBride – County Commissioner

  • mmcbride@storeycounty.org
  • 775-847-0968

Lance Gilman – Brothel Owner, TRIC executive and County Commissioner

  • lgilman@storeycounty.org
  • 775-847-0968

Jack McGuffey

  • jmcguffey@storeycounty.org
  • 775-847-0968



Elect Sam Toll For County Commissioner

About Sam Toll

Sam Toll is a native of Gold Hill and returned home in 2016 after 35 years in the Sacramento Valley. He enjoys old cars and loud music. And writing.

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  1. They Get the Pipeline, We Get the Shaft!

    I came out of that meeting thinking, “If they want that pipeline so bad, why don’t they pay for it? Why are they asking us?” I also can’t believe they’re wanting Storey to go into the pipeline construction business. Who would have the time to supervise this deal? What department? What personnel? But I’m sure there’s a Hess, Nevin, Hames or Whitten relative out there who could fill the bill!

    I also can’t believe the arrogance that they didn’t just pitch Storey to pay for the pipeline, saying, “If you build this, you’re going to recoup your costs in ____years from all the water you’ll sell & then it’s gravy.” That they not only want us to foot the bill, but to then give them the pipeline so they can profit from all that “liquid gold.” Do they think we’re that stupid? Also, Austin never could make us swallow the line that the bill would be paid for with tax revenue – that we wouldn’t get a personal bill, or it wouldn’t come out of residential property taxes. Well, if we weren’t paying for that bond, wouldn’t the revenue from all these new businesses go to the Community Center that needs to be built in the Highlands, or a new pool & Senior Center in VC, and whatever Lockwood & Mark Twain would want? I looked around that room we were all sitting in at the Highlands Firehouse & shook my head. This GARAGE has served as the Highlands’ ONLY meeting place for decades, yet recently the county finished that million dollar parking lot next to the courthouse. The county has had SEVENTEEN YEARS (since TRIC began) to throw a scrap at the Highlands and all the poor place has gotten is some crack & seal road maintenance on Cartwright. I have a hunch I’ll be dead before I see any ground broken in the Highlands for a place to meet besides this garage. And folks are still waiting on that pesky promise to lower property tax rates!

    Now I did get a good chuckle at the meeting. Austin brought a cup & saucer to give an analogy of how this pipeline revenue was gonna work. I had to muffle my snort when he said, “Imagine a pipeline of effluent water & coffee going into this cup. Right now, the cup is 4/5’s full & that represents the revenue we’re currently getting. But when the pipeline starts working & flows into the cup, it will fill up to the brim and spill over into the saucer and that’s how the revenue is going to be. There will be so much additional revenue, it will spill over and pay for the pipeline.”

    So how many of you swallow this effluent/pipeline/revenue explanation? Go to the meeting at Lockwood. I believe it’s on Sunday & perhaps Editor Sam will post the details on the front page. Then, you’ll be able to see Austin’s analogy yourself & make up your own mind. As for me, I’ll pass on the coffee!

  2. Austin’s cup and saucer (pipeline example) is not coffee–it is total BS, but what is worse is Agenda Item 13 Tuesday, 8/15/17 where it may be possible for a “County Manager” who has not shown us the voters/taxpayers that he can or will follow the law (remember when he would NOT go through the POST training after he promised us–when he wanted to be re-elected Sheriff?) and a DA who does not seem to remind our elected officials to follow the law. How can we trust these people with making contracts behind our back? Will this “pipeline contract” be one of these? Is this the intent of this Agenda Item 13?

    In the past, Reno, Sparks, TMWA and Washoe Co were willing to pump their (not coffee) downstream and PAY for it because they were violating the Clean Water Act/whatever etc. and they were being penalized. Who is trying to contract with these entities? Whomever it is, Storey Co. taxpayers are once again getting the NOT COFFEE (raw deal). We the taxpayers should NOT have to pay for a private entities pipeline and our County Manager should NOT be allowed to contract without public input. Storey’s Assistant Manager should NOT sell this plan calling it “WE” which meant Storey and TRIC! There is way too many people on TRIC’s payroll who are on the Commission, Planning Commission, or their GID etc. When are the taxpayer’s going to get FAIRNESS and HONESTY?

    We the people/taxpayers had better realize what is happening to them AGAIN!

    Juanita Cox,
    30 plus years, Storey Co.

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