Growth, changes and choices.
It is not exactly new news that Lyon County is one of the fastest growing counties per capita in the country. During the past few years a number of articles have been written of the increasing numbers of new residents and industries arriving at our doorstep, and the resulting burdens and benefits.
In fact, residents no longer appear to be astonished, or terribly concerned, at what is happening. It has become an accepted fact of life in Lyon County ... subdivisions will be built; industry will come; new schools will be needed; a variety of shopping opportunities will arrive at our doorstep; urban services will be provided ... water, sewer, paved streets, snow removal, etc.
And this is not all bad ... but there are some not-so-wonderful realities to these changes that must be faced. There are rapidly approaching choices that will have to be made.
New industry is providing Lyon County with welcome revenue and job opportunities. Those that appear to be no threat to polluting our environment or taxing to our water resources are being welcomed to Lyon County with open arms.
The deluge of subdivisions finding their way through the approval process the past few years is a direct result of this industrial growth, as is the current push to establish a comprehensive regional public transportation system. If you want to attract industrial giants, such as Amazon.com, a sound employee base must be available.
And, as the population increases, supermarkets, shopping centers, fast food restaurants, etc. are appearing. This is not only good for those who don't like living too far from the conveniences of life, they also benefit the county tax base.
However, those living in this new modern, urban, convenient Lyon County world now need more. And that will cost money. How much money will depend upon the degree of changes and quality in current lifestyles people feel is necessary.
Central Lyon County residents are becoming concerned whether a volunteer fire protection district can adequately protect the mushrooming numbers of new homes being built between Silver City, Mound House to Silver Springs. The district chief has been open and direct in telling residents their concern is well founded. Growth has already had a negative affect on the district's ability to maintain safe fire response time. Even with the best of equipment and strategically located fire stations, if enough volunteers can't be found, willing to give the time and effort required to become a volunteer firefighter, problems and resident complaints will continue to mount. So will the risks.
It may be sooner than later that central Lyon County residents will be asked to choose between continuing the current volunteer system or a paid one.
Residents want parks, playgrounds, pools, ball fields, bike paths, etc.
Considering their limited budget and staffing, the Central Lyon County Park and Recreation Department has done an amazing job of maintaining and improving the several parks under its jurisdiction. There is no special park tax district. Their budget is determined by the county and there is no extra money for extravagances.
Developers have cooperated by donating land, infrastructure and, in some cases, equipment; but more ballfields and playgrounds are desperately needed if the recreational needs of the young people (and adults) in the area are to be met.
The park director has spoken openly of the need for a special tax assessment district to allow for current and future needs to be met. The degree and quality of recreation facilities in the district will be up to you.
New schools will be needed. A high school in Silver Springs, once a remote and maligned dream, is in preliminary planning stages. In the coming years, school bond issues will be presented to the public as school officials try and raise the funding necessary to meet needs of the county's growing student population.
Animal control officers are frequently maligned for their slow response time to complaints. People want stray cats eliminated from their neighborhoods. They want bothersome dogs tended to immediately.
We have four officers to cover 2,000 square miles and answer to over 30,000 residents. And doing their best with limited resources, animal shelter workers will readily admit conditions at the Silver Springs facility are pathetic.
Domestic animal problems are only going to increase. How do you want it handled? More officers? New facilities?
New industry, businesses and people will continue to come to Lyon County, as will changes in local lifestyles, needs and expectations. The degree and timeliness with how each is dealt with will be your choice.
For each of you will have to decide just how much you are willing to give of your tax dollar to do so.
Think about it.