County employees host first forum
April 27, 2016
Was approving funding for the Douglas County Community & Senior Center akin to rape? Does the county manager's office have a revolving door?
Those were some of the issues tackled by candidates for Douglas County commission on Tuesday at a forum put on by public employees.
Incumbent District 1 Commissioner Greg Lynn is seeking a third term on the county commission. He is being challenged by Dave Nelson. In District 3, candidates Frank Godecke and Larry Walsh are vying for the seat being vacated by Commission Chairman Doug Johnson.
All four candidates are Republicans, which means under a new law, they will all appear on the primary ballot. The winner of the primary will be the sole candidate in November.
Nevada has a closed primary, so only Republicans will be able to vote in the June 14 election.
Nelson, a member of the Good Government Group, is repeating his bid for the District 1 seat he lost to Lynn in 2008. One of his issues is the county's approval of bonds for the center using the county's infrastructure tax rate and an increase in the utility tax.
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"I think that in a lot of cases of rape, you can still love the child," Nelson said when asked if he still opposed the center.
County employees publicly opposed a contract with Jim Nichols when he was hired in 2014 because the $172,000 he was being offered was so much higher than Steve Mokrohisky. Nichols left in January after 16 months in the job.
"The county manager requires a peculiar skill set and it's not as easy as it looks," Lynn said, describing the recruitment that netted Nichols as shallow.
Not one to shy away from an unpopular issue, Godecke said he was one of the planning commissioners who voted for the solar project.
"It would have been on a piece of ground that paid $200 in taxes a year because of the agriculture exemption and it's not a very good piece of agricultural land," he said. "The equipment they would have put on that ground does not demand services. I've spoken with private jet owners who would like to base their jets at the airport. That's $20 million to $60 million on which the county receives personal property tax."
Walsh told the county employees that he felt Douglas has some of the best employees in the world.
"I know because I'm married to one," he said.
Walsh said he didn't believe in reducing county staff unless it was absolutely necessary. He said that he hoped that employees could be made more efficient through training.
Nelson said his no taxes, no bonds pledge wouldn't have prevented him from voting for the bonds to fund Sierra Country Estates or the North Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant because they're funded by ratepayers.
The candidates had different views of the future alignment of the extension of Interstate 580 into Carson Valley to connect with Highway 395.
The Nevada Department of Transportation 2030 plans show the alignment running down the east side of the Valley, which Nelson said could also serve to block flash flooding in the Johnson Lane area. Godecke agreed the eastern route was best.
Walsh said he felt the interchange for the freeway should be built east of the Highway 50-395 junction and should send traffic south near Cradlebaugh Bridge.
Greg Lynn said he felt that Muller Lane Parkway could serve as the truck route around Minden and Gardnerville. Nelson and wife, Jeanne Shizuru, sued the county over the parkway's alignment in 2004.
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