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 May 8 at 10:30 a.m. For a full transcript of the last forum, go online at recordcourier.com and search “County Manager Q&A: April 10” Here are excerpts of the last forum:
Q: Can the county do anything about the situation at the southeast corner of Centerville and Highway 88? Supposedly a produce stand, this use is really little more than a public nuisance. A mess in summers, creating a traffic hazard at a dangerous intersection due to poor access and parking and distracting signs, it’s now little more than a junk yard with apparently illegal wood sales and auto dismantling.
A: We are aware of the issue at this property and are working diligently to achieve compliance by the property owner. The county recently sent a letter to the property owner advising the owner to remove the junk and debris, cease firewood and fruit sales, as required by county code. Unfortunately, the property owner has been difficult to locate after numerous attempts, but our code enforcement and district attorney’s office continue to work to resolve the issues.
Q: The county commissioners moved to form a citizen task force to explore funding options for road maintenance last week. How will the group be selected, how would one get involved and what kind of timeline are you looking at? Also, is there a priority plan in place in terms of which roads will be addressed first?
A: We are working to compile a list of individuals to serve on the Road Funding Task Force. We want the group to be a broad representation of the community, including individuals from various districts, and with different backgrounds, perspectives and ideas. The one common trait that all those who serve on the task force must have is to be solution oriented and willing to work cooperatively in a group environment. Anyone interested in serving is welcome to contact my office at 782-9821. We will try to keep the task force to around 10 people. It is important to know that we will have an extensive public engagement process, including numerous public workshops, online questions and other opportunities for the public to engage in the discussion. The role of the task force will be to study the issue in depth, facilitate the public engagement process and coordinate reasonable solutions to achieve our goal of appropriate funding to maintain our roads. We hope to bring forward recommendations within the next 9-12 months. We have a Pavement Management Plan that utilizes objective criteria to evaluate the condition of county-maintained pavement and provides at least two years of priority investments in preventative road maintenance.
Q: How did the county lose 2,800 feet of the Muller Parkway right-of-way due to a developer inaction? Shouldn’t this have been set up to become county-deeded property if the agreement fell through?
A: It appears as though the question refers to the Ashland Park Development Agreement, which expired in January 2013, due to the owner not proceeding with the project. While the agreement has expired and the developer has no obligation to dedicate the right-of-way, the county still has the ability to gain the right-of-way in the future when a new project comes forward or if the owner elects to enter into a separate agreement with the county. There is no legal provision for the county to require dedication of right-of-way that is not associated with a project.
Q: Can you give us an update on the budget hearings going on this week?
A: For the first time in over five years, we presented a balanced general fund budget to the board at its first budget hearing. The general fund is balanced without reducing service levels and we will be redirecting over $1 million in existing funds to preventative road maintenance, which was a goal the board set last week. The board also discussed and approved the tentative budgets for the three transportation funds and redevelopment agency.
Q: Douglas County recently received a $157,152 grant to aid the homeless. How did that come about, and how will it be used?
A: The grant is a renewal of a Housing and Urban Development federal grant to provide support for Nevada’s homeless population. Douglas County will use these funds to support its transitional housing program which targets at risk or homeless families through a stepped process that begins with temporary housing at a local hotel and could lead to a rental apartment or home. The Douglas County program requires strict compliance to many guidelines and conditions, including being drug and alcohol free, finding work and ultimately becoming self-supporting.
Q: We’ve seen a lot of activity on the business front in the last month. Can you tell us anything about the businesses moving in, and if any more are on the horizon?
A: We have seen some very positive business activity recently, including expansion of existing businesses and relocation of new businesses from outside of Nevada. Many of the businesses that have expanded and relocated are in the areas of manufacturing; aerospace and aviation; health, science and technology; and logistics. The four new relocations that were recently announced include a firearms manufacturer, an aerospace manufacturer, an international fulfillment center and a chemical manufacturer. Three of the new businesses are from California. In total, there are over 400 direct and indirect jobs that will be created this year. We anticipate the job count from those businesses will nearly double within the next three years.
Q: Are there any updates on the FEMA flood maps?
A: Last month, the board approved remapping the final four wash areas, located in the Johnson Lane/East Valley areas. The remapping of those areas is expected to be complete within the next year. Once the final remapped areas are complete, we will submit the data to FEMA for approval. We have already submitted the remapping for Buckeye Creek Wash and Airport Wash to FEMA for review and approval. The process typically takes around six months to receive approval from FEMA and FEMA has committed to use Douglas County’s data in expeditiously approving the remapping. Until the remapped areas are approved by FEMA and properties are removed from the special flood hazard areas, property owners will need to continue to maintain their flood insurance policy.
Any public officials interested in participating in a similar online forum can contact The Record-Courier at firstname.lastname@example.org or 782-5121, ext. 215.