County manager talks roads, air quality
County Manager Larry Werner appears on the R-C Running Commentary monthly. Here is a transcript from Wednesday’s discussion.
Q: We heard the folks from FEMA were in town recently to survey the flood damage. Any initial impressions. Do we have a damage estimate yet?
A: Yes, FEMA has been here and we’re waiting for their assessment. We are still gathering damage estimate and should know shortly.
Q: Marge asks why the county can’t keep the lines painted down Highway 395, if the state won’t do it. Maybe charge back the cost to the state.
A: Nice idea but we don’t have the ability to paint the white lines nor pay the cost.
Q: Steve points out that sometimes during the winter when we have an inversion layer, smoke from fireplaces and open burning is trapped in the valley. Often the air looks as bad as any I ever saw in Southern California. In addition to looking horrible, I’m sure it is bad for any living thing. Could the county impose a restriction on these smoke sources like Washoe County does during an inversion?
A: For most of the time, even though it looks bad, the ambient air quality does not reach the levels for a sustained period to impose burn bans or restrictions.
Q:.Ron in Gardnerville points out that Tillman Lane in the Gardnerville Ranchos is a total disaster. There are areas without any storm drainage, going south off of Kimmerling the roadway is basically gone, it is all potholes and down to the dirt roadbase in many places. Is the county planning to work on its portion of that road?
A: We understand. Because of the weather, we are not able to do any viable maintenance right now but do intend to do so in the spring or as soon as weather allows. The road does need major work and is on our 5 year plan but is currently unfunded.
Q: Speaking of potholes, Jacks Valley Road’s aren’t getting smaller. It looked like the county crew tried to fill some, but that didn’t last long. Any plans for getting to those in the next little while?
A: You’re exactly right about trying to do pothole repair in this type of weather — any effort is very sort lived. We will resume major reconstruction this spring for certain segments.
Q: We heard from a resident who’s concerned that the widening of Waterloo near Highway 88 could take a portion of her property. Is the county planning on purchasing additional right of way for any of those upcoming road projects?
A: No there is no additional right-of-way acquisition proposed for the widening project.
Q: David wants to thank you and the road dept. for coming out after the last big rain, and cleaning out the ditches and my culvert at Skyline Ranch. You saved me from again being flooded — this time it would have the seventh time. But what can you all do in the long term to once and for all prevent this from becoming an ongoing disaster for me every time it rains big time?
A. The County has received funding for the preparation of an area master drainage plan for this region. As part of that plan, needed stormwater facilities will be identified that should help address this issue. The next major hurdle will again be the ability to actually fund the projects.
Q: It has been a year since the county approved the nickel gas tax. Can you tell us how much has been raised during the year and whether it met expectations?
A: For the first nine months we received around $900,000, which was our annual projection so funds are coming in higher than anticipated.
Q: It seems that the issue with the Historian Inn’s occupancy taxes would have been easier if addressed earlier. Is the county taking steps to make sure smaller hotels don’t find themselves so far behind?
A: Yes, we are now auditing on a more frequent basis to prevent this form re-occurring.
Q. Sounds like some folks have it in for Redevelopment District No. 1. Are you in talks with the fire and school districts about dissolving that district? When would we see some movement.
A. I have not opened formal discussions with East Fork Fire or the Douglas School District as I want to have a workshop with the Board of County Commissioners first. We are looking at having the workshop in March.
Related to that is the North Valley Waste Water Treatment Plan expansion. If the redevelopment district was dissolved, where would the other $2.8 million to complete that project come from?
There are only two sources the County’s General Fund or Sewer rates.
Any cool businesses coming to the county you can talk about?
Kurt, I have not heard of anything specific but we continue to get inquiries.
Budget work should be starting pretty soon. How is the county looking for this upcoming year?
Yes, were starting to ramp up on the budget process. So far things look stable – very comparable to this current year. There will be more public hearings to provide for the departments to present their budgets and programs to the Board- most activity will be in March.