County manager: Public lands and parks
Douglas County Manager Larry Werner participates in a question and answer forum online on The Record-Courier’s daily Running Commentary. Anyone with questions is welcome to participate in the next forum. For a full transcript of the last forum, go online at recordcourier.com and search “County Manager Q&A:” Here are excerpts of the last forum:
Q. It has been about a week back in the saddle, how are things going so far?
A. It’s been interesting. I have really enjoyed working with the folks again.
Q. John asks that you thank the staff at Parks and Recreation for their work on the Johnson Lane Park. The new playground equipment looks like a lot of fun. Will there be a ribbon cutting ceremony and if so will it be before Easter in time for the Easter egg hunt from the VFD. What other updates can you provide?
A. Scott Morgan is in the room and he thanks you for your kind words. There will be a ribbon cutting at the conclusion of the construction which will be this fall. The park will be available for the Easter egg hunt.
Q. Recently BLM has installed water bars on the road towards Mexican dam off Lindsay Lane. For those of us who could not attend the briefing from the Flood task force John asks that you please provide an update on the county’s mitigation plans and coordination with other agencies?
A. We will be presenting recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners on April 7 discussing their recommendations and working with BPM. I would suggest that for detailed information, contact Erik Nilssen at Community Development 782-9063.
Q. Bob points out that the water pipeline installation on Jacks Valley Road has created more potholes and damage to the roadway that was already severely impacted by potholes. The worst portion of the road is between Jacks Valley School and Bavarian. It is in terrible condition and accidents with cars trying to avoid the potholes will likely happen. What and when will the county take care of the problem?
A. We’re planning on a total reconstruction of Jacks Valley Road between the Jacks Valley School to Bavarian in FY 2017. In the meantime, the pipeline contractor is required to fix the potholes when the construction is complete and we do monitor the daily temporary fixes.
Q. The five-year transportation plan is on the agenda to be discussed by commissioners on Thursday. There’s a bonding option in there that would extend financing on the projects for 20 years. Would that be from a portion of the nickel gas tax? Do you know how much the county has raised from that so far?
A. Yes, the bonding comes from the gas tax. The nickel is imposed in February. The money actually goes to the state and is redistributed to the county on a quarterly basis so we haven’t seen the results yet.
Q. Do you know when the Douglas County Sewer District No. 1 is due to come before the county commission?
A. We don’t know. Currently the project has been put on hold by the applicant.
Q. Terry says that an R-C letter to the editor says there is “a large amount of available funds already sitting in county coffers” that could be used to fix our roads and for other infrastructure needs. Relying on the “latest financial statement,” the writer lists $71 million of county investments, $5 million in cash on hand and $14 million in year end balances. I don’t doubt the numbers but is it correct that these funds could be used as suggested?
A. No, but lets break it down a little. As far as the invested funds, the county handles investing for other agencies so a big chunk is not available to the county. Cash on hand is moving from invested funds to cash to pay current obligations. Ending fund balances are generally restricted by state law as to when and how they can be used.