Forecast draws 200 for peek at future

More than 200 people attended a program to learn Douglas County's trends in business, growth and water issues at the Douglas County Building Industry Association's annual Forecast 2006 at the Carson Valley Inn Wednesday.

Real estate, chamber of commerce and manufacturing representatives painted a positive picture of business in the Valley.

"The future is bright, we all need shades," said Realtor Dick McCole.

Ray Bacon, executive director of Nevada Manufacturers Association, said Nevada is the only state that showed growth in manufacturing jobs last year.

According to Skip Sayre, director of the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitor's Authority, small businesses are successful in the Valley.

"Even people who aren't good at business are doing OK," Sayre said.

The Sustainable Growth Initiative was seen as a problem that could be worked out without litigation.

"Adopting a growth rate is called for in the master plan," said SGI committee member Jim Slade. "The time has come to control growth."

Douglas County Building Industry Association President Peter Beekhof Jr. said no one wanted unfettered growth, but there has to be a middle ground.

"No one wants to see the Valley paved over, but we don't want to shut the door just because we got our quality of life," Beekhof Jr. said. "We need a growth rate that works for everybody."

County Manager Dan Holler, Communications Director Dick Mirgon, Assessor Doug Sonnemann and county commission Chairman Jim Baushke discussed the problems of funding the increasing demand for services.

"A lot of county airports are a drain, but not here," said Baushke, "We have a good airport here. We want to keep the airport because it's a valued asset."

Mirgon said Douglas County is as "ready as we'll ever be" when it comes to handling floods.

"The small flood we had in December allows us to be ready for what happens later in the spring," he said. "We're in good shape although people build in flood plain areas. Our biggest concerns are that we have to rescue them."

The future of water in Carson Valley was an issue important to developers, the towns and conservancy groups.

Minden Town Board member Bob Hadfield said the county needs to protect the resources it has.

"As stewards, the town board raised the price of water to $10,000 per acre foot and it will probably go up again," he said. "We believed it was our responsibility to price water so it won't be transferred out of the region."

Minden has such a large amount of water, that it dictates the price for the rest of the Valley.

Rob Anderson of R.O. Anderson Engineering said a community water system does a better job of providing water services than individuals can.

Carson Water Subconservancy District General Manager Ed James said an increasing number of domestic wells lowers water tables.

"'Are we going to run out of water?' is the issue for the state," said James. "Who's going to have to cut back? A problem for ranchers is that water is worth more than the land they're farming."

Chip Hanly of Syncon Homes said getting water for development projects depends on the area.

"Sometimes it's readily available, sometimes it's not," said Hanly. "No water, no development."

Included in the program were candidates and people representing Douglas County's economy, business, and quality of life issues. Candidates running for political office spoke about education, health care and growth management. Panels included Nevada gubernatorial candidates Dina Titus, Jim Gibson and Bob Beers and congressional candidates Jill Derby, Sharron Angle, Dawn Gibbons and Dean Heller.


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