Summary of the August 1, 2017 Storey County Commission Meeting

WHAT DO YOU CALL IT WHEN YOU CLEVERLY GET STOREY COUNTY TO PAY FOR $67 MILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF YOUR INFRASTRUCTURE?

CORPORATE WELFARE.

WAKE UP PUMPKINS…….WE’RE ABOUT TO GET THE SHAFT AGAIN…..AND BY SHAFT I MEAN THAT YOU WILL BE TAKING OUT A LOAN FOR $35 MILLION DOLLARS AND BUYING TRI AND BROTHEL OWNER , COMMISSIONER AND TRI PRINCIPAL LANCE GILMAN A $35 MILLION DOLLAR PIPELINE WHICH YOU WILL NOT OWN...EVER.

YOU WILL ALSO BE GIVING UP FUTURE TAX REVENUES AT TRI TO PAY BACK THAT DEBT WHICH COULD FUND COMMUNITY PROJECTS THAT BENEFIT THE RESIDENTS……BUT NO……$35 MILLION WILL BE SPENT TO BENEFIT A FEW COMPANIES….AND ONE IN PARTICULAR

I AM OUTRAGED BY THIS AND SO SHOULD YOU BE. THIS IS THEFT PURE AND SIMPLE.

By Nicole Barde

Bardeblog.com

You can find the Agenda HERE and County Manager Pat Whitten’s summary HERE. If you want to listen to the meeting you can access the recording HERE.

I am going to deviate from my usual format and only report on one of the agenda items of this meeting. The other agenda items were fairly procedural and Congressman Mark Amodei’s 30 minute soliloquy wasn’t anything new so I won’t rehash it here.

The “beef” of this meeting was Agenda item #10. I’ll just say upfront that I really can’t believe what I heard. They must think that we taxpayers have achieved a new level of stupid if they think that we’ll go for this………..and then again??????

It was called a “workshop” and the intent was to discuss the possibility (read done deal) of the County taking out a +/- $35 million dollar debt in order to finance an effluent water pipeline from Sparks to the TRI GID. The entire presentation is in the agenda packet and I strongly encourage you to review it…this is IMPORTANT. The presentation was made by an outside Las Vegas consultant working with TRI named Jeremy Aguero.

This plan has the support of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and Cory Hunt from GOED was also there. GOED are the same people who basically left Storey County out in the cold while they and TRI negotiated the Tesla abatements. I have a feeling that this “deal” is like that one. TRI and GOED have been working it for a while and now they have a plan to foist on Storey County.

As you know water and water rights are critical for Nevada. For years TRI has been buying up every bit of water that they can find. But it isn’t enough. To the extent that we are bringing in more and more manufacturing into Northern Nevada, and to the extent that some manufacturing requires a great deal of water as part of the process TRI needs to ensure that there is a steady stream of it to meet those manufacturing needs.

So in comes effluent water. This is untreated water from Reno/Sparks that costs money to treat and recycle for public use but not as much processing is required for manufacturing. The deal making for this effluent water actually began a while ago… around 2013 if not before. As I recall the discussions at that time the issue was how to pay for it…..so this topic is not a surprise. What is the surprise is how they are planning to pay for it.

If you look at page 5 of the presentation it says it all. Bottom-line there is no direct, indirect or specific benefit to Storey County (YOU AND ME) listed anywhere. The big “payoff” for doing this is Economic Development and jobs.

Jobs for people mostly not living in Storey County.

The pipeline from Sparks to the TRI GID is about $35 million and TRI wants Storey to pay for it. Then the cost to process that water at the TRI GID is another $30 Million which TRI will fund somehow.

Here’s the deal….THE PIPELINE IS A DEVELOPER INFRASTRUCTURE EXPENSE…..pure and simple. At the end of the debt cycle the county doesn’t even own the pipeline, it isn’t even IN Storey County.

We, the taxpayers, get nothing. I got up at public comment to give feedback and said that we get nothing under this plan….that it would be nice if TRI were to forgive $35 Million dollars of our $47 million dollar debt to them. That it would be nice if they looked at alternatives to saddling us with the debt…something like TRI selling a private offering of debt. Put it out to the market to finance. But I guess that our county officials are easy marks for TRI and so this deal will go thru.

The way that this was presented was that the debt service (principle and interest) will be paid out of future TRI revenues (called incremental in the presentation) from new companies that move in after a certain date. The current set of abated and non-abated TRI companies and their taxes will not go towards paying back the debt. We can keep that revenue as a county. But , remember that we owe TRI $47 Million Dollars and that means that we have to give TRI 35 cents out of every dollar of total TRI tax revenue to repay THAT debt so…..after you deduct the abatements not much is left for us citizens and our communities.

The “incremental revenues” assumes that TRI will continue to grow despite being close to build out. It also assumes that economic cycles will not affect those revenues since the revenue trend line is up, up, up. What happens if/when things tank again between now and 2047? We will still have that debt so it will need to be paid for from somewhere else. This pipeline deal essentially mortgages our future revenues for the sake of the TRI principals whose motto seems to be “Other people money is always a good way to go”

Consider this…..the Storey County portion of USA Parkway cost about $15 Million to build, the I-80 interchange to the parkway cost about $10.7 Million to build. A total of $25 Million Dollars. Clearly these should have been NDOT expenses but they didn’t want to pay for it at the time…if not NDOT then it’s a developer expense so TRI should have absorbed the cost ….but no.. …. TRI built them and then gave Storey County the bill and Storey took it. WTF.

Then consider that Storey County GAVE that same section of USA Parkway back to TRI…GAVE IT TO THEM FOR FREE….FREE!!…Lance Gilman then turned around and sold the entire length of USA Parkway to the State.

OK, let’s see ..we give him USA Parkway so he can complete the deal for TRI…..he makes money on it….BUT WE STILL CARRY THE DEBT. We still owe TRI for the original expense to build it despite us giving it back to them. Lance gets paid twice for USA parkway!! WTF.

But wait there’s more.

Part of the $47 Million Dollar debt we owe TRI is for a railroad spur and a railway bridge into TRI to service those companies. This is a total of $7.3 Million Dollars. Why didn’t the railroad build its own infrastructure? Why didn’t TRI build it? Well because someone thinking that it would be a good thing to curry favor agreed to have Storey County pay for it.

 

So let’s add up the Storey County citizens Corporate Welfare tab….

            -USA Parkway=$25 Million

            -Rail = $7.3 Million

            -proposed pipeline=$35 Million

TOTAL CORPORATE WELFARE PAID TO TRI WITH NO ROI FOR YOU AND ME= $67 Million Dollars…WTF.

Undoubtedly there will be major spin put on this deal. Undoubtedly it is being pushed as a benefit to Storey County. Undoubtedly the Catch 22 Milo Minderbinder motto of “what’s good for M&M (read TRI) Enterprises is good for you” applies here and they will expect the citizens to swallow that logic.

Look at the deal for yourself and decide if you think it is a net positive for ALL of Storey County.

During public comment Kris Thomson, TRI project manager, Lance Gilman evangelizer, recall organizer, flamethrower and Lance Gilman roommate, got up to berate me as well as Sam Toll for our comments questioning the soundness of this debt plan. He called us activists, anti-business and not speaking for the citizens of Storey County. He may as well have called us butt-ugly while he was at it.

He sounded like a desperate man. He told the companies in attendance to ignore us because this was a good deal and it should be approved.

Just to be clear…I am not anti-business….I am pro-business with NO GOVERNMENT interference….I do not believe in Corporate Welfare, I do not believe that the citizens should be paying for any private company deal. I am outraged at having paid $67 Million Dollars on TRI’s developer infrastructure with nothing in return. I do not believe that the county has the right to mortgage our future tax revenues for a sitting Commissioners private business interests.