County manager answers community’s questions
Q. Christy asks why neither Douglas County nor GRGID repaving Tillman going south from the Kimmerling and Tillman intersection?
A. This portion of Tillman is the County’s responsibility. We have the project included in our 5-year CIP however, we don’t have it funded yet. The project will consist of reconstruction and drainage work which is fairly significant.
Q. Margaret says that Douglas County is selling water to Carson City. Has selling the water from Douglas County affected the local water table?
A. It’s difficult to determine the impact of one particular water user on the water table. However Carson City does have some water rights here in the Carson Valley, so we are merely providing them water that they are already entitled to. We are currently working with our regional partners on a water conservation plan to preserve our water resources.
Q. Fremont Street in Johnson Lane is frequently used as an interchange between the East Valley and Johnson Lane Area of Douglas County. When will the East Valley Road be connected to the true East Valley Road in Johnson Lane?
A. We’re currently in the midst of updating our Transportation Plan and we will be reviewing the East Valley Road connection in Johnson Lane, amongst many other transportation questions.
Q. During the past flood occurrences, some first-responders advised residents that they can take any measures necessary to protect their property. What is the county’s official position on the construction of berms by residents?
A. I can’t speak to what was stated by first responders though some of those comments may have been taken out of context. We certainly respect everyone’s right to protect their property however, we do not advise or condone anyone creating a negative impact for a neighboring property. Please direct specific questions about what can or can not be done to address drainage on a property to our Stormwater Program Manager, Karin Peternel at 782-6215
Q. Has the county explored the possibility of suing BLM for the runoff damage that came from the BLM land that they are supposed to manage? In particular there are some very compromised areas of BLM land right next the neighborhoods that generate massive runoffs and sediment movement due to heavy and uncontrolled motorized use.
A. We are aware of the issues associated with the runoff from BLM and we have been working cooperatively with them to look into possible solutions.
Q. John asked that you thank Chris Oakden and the road crew for their assistance in the recent floods. There have been a lot of critics of the county lately, this is specially true at the commissioners meeting. His concern is with the lack of staff’s willingness to return phone calls. Can you tell us how this can be improved?
A. First, thanks for the compliments to our road crew. I echo those sentiments. We are working diligently to return all calls in order of priority but our resources have been a bit overwhelmed. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we work through our backlog.
Q. On Thursday we heard one resident claim the county has $49 million in reserves it could devote to flood improvements. Do you know what that figure refers to and why that money can’t be used for flood or road improvements?
A. Our ending fund balance at the end of Fiscal Year 2014 was $48.6 million and I’m assuming this is what the question is referring to. This figure includes the reserves, as mandated by state law, for most of the county funds including the RDA, towns and fire district. The majority of the ending fund balance is legally restricted to each specific fund and can’t be used to pay for drainage or transportation projects.
Q. As a quick follow-up, could you estimate the number of different funds we’re talking about?
A. We have over 50 funds included.
Q. With the construction of the Sonic is there any word on whether the traffic light that was planned for Lucerne and 395 will get any traction with NDOT?
A. We’ve not received any word from NDOT that the Sonic would in any way move up the construction of a signal at Lucerne and 395.
Q. Could you give us a current status of the Johnson Lane Park improvements? When can we see work being done?
A. We will be going out to bid for two tennis courts and two basketball half-court improvements this fall with work occurring later this year.
Q. The Douglas County master plan celebrates its 20th anniversary next year. What’s in the works in terms of updating the plan?
A. We expect to have a joint meeting between the Planning Commission and the Board of Commissioners to review the status of the plan and begin developing the scope of work for the update later this year.
Douglas County Manager Jim Nichols participates in The R-C Running Commentary on the second Wednesday of the month.