Douglas County Manager Steve Mokrohisky participates in a monthly question and answer forum online on The Record-Courier's daily Running Commentary. Anyone with questions is welcome to participate in the next scheduled forum on Nov. 14 at 10:30 a.m.
Q: On Thursday, Genoa Town Board members are meeting about cowboy poetry. They're asking the county to make up the difference between what they make and what they've budgeted. Is that something the county's willing to do to maintain the event?A: We have met with Genoa officials and the County continues to be supportive of the Cowboy event. We have pledged economic vitality funds of approximately $15,000 for the event. I have expressed to Genoa officials that I do not believe it would be appropriate for the County to cover the cost of a loss on the event. I believe the Board of Commissioners has supported this position. We will continue to work with Genoa officials to ensure a successful event and support for the Town.Q: How does the state demographer's jobs report affect the county? Or does it affect the county at all?A: On the State Demographer's data, I think the information confirms trends that we have all been experiencing in our community for several years. Gaming, accomodations and food services have been declining for a decade and this is more long range trend. That is not likely to reverse, given competition throughout the region and nation. Also, the fact that we will continue to see an increase in the age our population is a reality that we will need to deal with as it relates to demand for public services and serves as a strong confirmation of the need for our new Community and Senior Center in the Carson Valley, to provide important services and recreational opportunities to seniors and families. Q: Developers are saying improvements to Zerolene Road are regional improvements. Is the county prepared to share the $2.5 million in costs for Zerolene Road?A: The 2007 adopted transportation plan identifies Zeronlene Rd as an arterial roadway, serving the east side of Minden and Gardnerville. The plan estimates the cost of those road improvements at approximately $3.8 million. However, the plan did not consider the construction of bridge crossing the Martin Slough floodway, which is estimated by the developer to be an additional $2.5 million. The road is necessary to provide secondary access to serve the planned subdivision and mitigate traffic volumes. The purpose of the bridge is to span the new floodway per the current FEMA map. The bridge is a new requirement from the original approval of the project due to the revised flood maps. There are no funds allocated from the County for this work.Q: Can you give an update on the status of the FEMA Maps??A: I am meeting with FEMA representatives today as a follow up to the Scientific Resolution Panel decision siding with Douglas County. Let me make the County's position clear: we are requesting that FEMA do three things: 1) reimburse Douglas County residents that were required to purchase new flood insurance effective January 2010 for the full cost over the past 2.5 years, 2) reimburse Douglas County for all costs incurred to complete new flood studies to correct the inaccurate flood maps provided by FEMA, and 3) pay for all costs for the final areas that still have to be remapped due to FEMA's inaccurate data. We will provide information to residents as soon as we have resolution and agreement on these issues. We also plan to hold public workshops to inform our residents on next steps for the flood maps. I anticipate the workshops will be held in the next couple months.Q: Do you anticipate that larger aircraft will use the Tahoe Douglas Airport after the work is completed?A: No. The fact remains that the Airport Use Ordinance adopted by our voters restricts the type of infrastructure and development that would be needed for significantly larger aircraft to operate at the Minden-Tahoe Airport. We also restrict the weightof aircraft to 50,000 lbs for single wheel and 75,000 lbs for dual wheel. Any non-emergency aircraft over those weights is required to request permission prior to landing and we charge them a fee. The taxiway work that we are doing and is funded by the FAA is to rehabiliate the primary taxiway that has significantly deteriorated. Q: There's a new restaurant on Airport Road where past restaurants have failed, partly due to signage issues. Will the county be revisiting the sign ordinance anytime soon considering the current economic situation?A: The Board has adopted a strategic goal to pursue the update to Title 20 of our County Code, which includes the sign ordinance. So, we will be looking at possible changes to the sign ordinance in the future. The real challenge is with off-site signs for businesses not located on Highway 395. As part of any potential future revisions, the County will be looking at other communities that allow off-site signs and how those signs affect community character and historic preservation, while working to support and promote our local businesses. One suggestion: the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce has begun a campain called “Local First.” Let's all get behind this effort. We are planning to place the “Local First” bumper stickers on our vehicles and I encourage others to support our local businesses in whatever way possible.Q: Is the county considering instituting a local preference on bids?A: State of Nevada law clearly identifies what counties can and cannot do with respect to a local preference on bids. State law defines a qualifying local business as a business that resides in the State of Nevada. So, while we will continue to make every effort to support local Douglas County businesses where we have discression to do so, we are constrained by State law on publicly bid projects.