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. 13 at 10:30 a.m. For a full transcript of the last forum, go online at recordcourier.com and search “County Manager Q&A: Oct. 9” Here are excerpts of the last forum:
Q: Do you know if there is a serious drop in the Valley water tables? Two neighbors here in the East Valley had to have their wells re-drilled to a lower depth in the past year as they were running dry. Last week the Minden town yard on Buckeye had a drilling rig and currently Bently’s well across the road is being worked on. Could this be related to the selling of water to Indian Hills? Or is it due to the dry winters?
A: We have not seen a serious or significant drop in water levels in wells owned and operated by Douglas County. US Geologic Service analysis shows that water levels can drop over time in outlying areas, such as the Pine Nut area, Ruhenstroth, Fish Springs and outlying portions of East Valley. I would suggest that anyone interested in finding out more about water levels in their service area should contact their local water provider.
Q: This summer one stretch of Pinto Circle was extensively patched. However, the worst spot, totally destroyed, was not fixed. What will be done about this situation?
A: The road crew did extensive work in that area this past summer, including skim patching and replacement of the worst section of the most traveled portions of road. I have asked our road superintendent to take a look at the area in question and evaluate if additional work needs to be done, and he is currently on his way to the site. If you email me your contact information, we will follow up with you on additional work to be performed in the future.
Q: Why is a higher percentage of our property taxes going to East Fork Swim Center and a smaller percentage to road repair. Roads need the money.
A: The East Fork Swim Center is a voter approved special district with its own elected board and dedicated property tax rate that was created over 20 years ago. Efforts to increase the gas tax or other funding sources for roads have failed several times over the past 20 years. The Board of Commissioners shifted over $1 million in existing property tax revenue in 2013 to road maintenance, which represents great progress without the increase of a tax. Additional funds to meet our road maintenance obligations will need to come from existing property taxes - either within the county or another district - and/or from some new revenue source.
Q: What is the next step now that the Valley Vision Plan is complete?
A: The Board of Commissioners, as well as the Town of Minden board and Town of Gardnerville Board have all accepted the principles of the Valley Vision, directed their respective staff to develop a joint resolution to be adopted by the County and towns, and will be pursuing funds to implement certain public improvements. The vision will drive the towns’ plans for prosperity and public/private partnerships. We are already seeing the concepts of the vision come to life in the form of private investments, such as the planned investments by Bently Enterprises in several of its properties in Minden. The vision will be a strong catalyst for our community to revitalize the main street environment and create a vibrant core for our residents, businesses and visitors.
Q: We notice that some of the worst spots of Waterloo Lane have received some fresh asphalt. Does that mean it’s no longer Douglas County’s roughest road? What’s the next step in improving the county’s road infrastructure.
A: The recent work done by the road crew on Waterloo Lane, between Highway 88 and Centerville, was a short term skim patch of the worst sections of pavement. We focused our efforts on the worst sections of that road with the limited resources that are available. The work that was completed is not a permanent fix and will not materially improve the quality or condition of the road, but it does serve as short term stop gap. The road will still need to be replaced in the future. As for future preventative maintenance work on roads, we are progressively increasing the amount of property tax funds that support road maintenance with the Board of Commissioners action to shift over $1 million this year, but we still need to identify approximately $4 million per year more to keep pace with our requirements. The road funding task force continues to meet and explore solutions. We are planning public workshops in November to broaden our engagement of the community in the issue.
Q : What happens to the bite report form doctors fill out at the urgent care when there’s a dog bite?
A: Douglas County Animal Care and Services receives a copy of the bite report from the reporting health care facility. After we receive and review the report, we contact the owner of the dog, quarantine the animal for a rabies evaluation and document the incident in the county system. Animal care and services may take additional action based on the circumstances.
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.