Letters to the Editor for June 10
As June 14 approaches, citizens of Douglas County need to consider this: Because Democrats and Independents have been shut out of the opportunity to vote for county commissioners in Districts 1 and 3 as the result of changes made to the law by Senate Bill 499 in the last legislative session, it is likely that about a quarter of our residents will select which candidates will progress to the November election without input from three-quarters of our citizens. Registered Republicans represent slightly more than half of the registered voters in Douglas County — history tells us that half or fewer of them will vote in this Primary. Commissioners represent all citizens in this county. We need to either re-visit SB499 or re-classify county commissioners as nonpartisan.
Not extra dollars
A statement was made that the county had, at the end of fiscal year 2013, $91.7 million available for the board of county commissioners to spend at their discretion, from unrestricted investments, cash and year end fund balances that could have been used to fund the community center.
Amounts accounted for under “Cash and investment” in the audit report are the county funds invested until necessary to pay outstanding obligations, including personnel costs, capital project costs, contractual costs such as insurance premiums, health premiums and payroll contributions, and where the “year end fund balance” resides. The amounts invested are not extra dollars, available for discretionary spending, but are the funds needed for ongoing county operations. By state law, 4 percent of a fund’s total amount is required to be in the Ending Fund Balance. By county Policy, the minimum amount to be reserved as the Ending Fund Balance for each fund is 8.3 percent, which is equal to one month’s expenses. At the end of the fiscal year (June 30), unspent money from a budgeted activity (such as a vacant staff position) and revenues received in excess of budgeted amounts end up in the Ending Fund Balance. Amounts in the Ending Fund Balance in excess of county policy and state law may be allocated to county operations or capital projects in the following year.
As of June 30, 2013, there was approximately $10 million dollars unrestricted in governmental funds. However, it was not entirely available as it included various commitments to ongoing obligations.
Douglas County Manager
Asking for your vote
I am Frank Godecke, candidate for commissioner District 3. For those of you who don’t know, me I live on our family ranch with my wife. We have three grown children who also live in Douglas County.
I am running for county commissioner because I will bring to the position a balanced and considerate approach to the issues that are important to all the residents of this county. I am currently serving my sixth year on the planning commission, and with my background in planning, I will work closely with staff and members of each distinct regional planning area to implement a master plan to help guide this county and its elected officials for the next 20 years. Because it is difficult to predict exactly what will occur in the next two decades, the Master Plan needs to be a flexible guiding document which can be amended as conditions dictate. As a member of the agricultural community, I have been in close contact with several large agricultural property owners. They generally agree that since owners of agricultural properties 100 acres or greater collectively own the largest portion of privately owned property in the county as a group, they should have a seat at the table when the discussion involves possible nonagricultural uses on their property.
I believe that if the public doesn’t want any nonagricultural uses on Valley farm and ranch land, then we need to look at how, as a community, we are going to fund conservation easements, which will preserve the agriculture open space for perpetuity and deed restrict the water so it can’t be stripped from the property.
Throughout the many candidate forums held this election cycle most candidates, including myself, iterated the point of encouraging small industrial businesses to start up or move to the county. Along with bringing good paying jobs, they will also diversify our tax base. Some of the things that businesses look at when deciding to relocate are road conditions, communication access, emergency response capabilities, low crime rates, and quality of life accommodations, such as good schools, parks, recreation, libraries and community facilities. In addition to ensuring the aforementioned items, I believe as commissioners, we need to look at the permitting process and make sure it is as streamlined as possible. As your commissioner, I will represent all the citizens of this wonderful county while working with each distinct area of the county to identify your specific needs and ideas. I would appreciate your vote on or before June 14. If you have any concerns, I can be contacted at 790-0163 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information check out my web site FrankGodecke.com or my Facebook page.
Not voting for Godecke
The upcoming Republican Primary election for Douglas County commissioner presents what may be a historic milestone for the residents of Douglas County. What is at stake is whether the peaceful rural-agrarian lifestyle that has drawn us to the Carson Valley will be preserved, or whether the forces to industrialize the Valley will prevail.
During 2015 the Douglas County planning staff recommended approval of a request for a special use permit to allow an open and subsurface mining operation for the removal of aggregate and materials for processing, including a portable concrete batch plant and asphalt plant. On November 10, 2015, at a planning commission meeting, I rebutted the planning commission staff recommendation that the planning commission approve the application; I provided ample evidence, including the perils of low-frequency noise, that the request was contrary to Douglas County Master Plan provisions. Specifically the request conflicts with the county Master Plan Land Use Policy: “LU Policy 2.4: Douglas County shall use its planning and development regulations to protect residential neighborhoods from encroachment of incompatible activities or land uses which may have a negative impact on the residential living environment.“ At the outset of the meeting, the seven members of the planning commission provided disclosure of their interests regarding the request. At that point I fully expected two members of the planning commission, Kevin Servatius, and Frank Godecke, to recuse themselves from the proceedings. They did not. When the matter came to a vote, the planning commission voted against the request: the request was denied by a vote of 4-3. Two of the members who voted in favor of the request were Kevin Servatius and Frank Godecke.
Today Frank Godecke is running for a position as a Douglas County commissioner. His campaign signs are frequently seen across Douglas County, placed closely with those of incumbent county commissioner, Greg Lynn. When some of the residents of the county who have stood in support of the county Master Plan met with him, Greg Lynn opined that the “plan is subjective.” In contrast to Greg Lynn’s opinion, his opponent in the election, Dave Nelson, told the group that the Master Plan is “a covenant with the people.”
Frank Godecke’s voting record as chairman of the planning commission gives ample evidence that he does not have a consistent interest in adhering to the county Master Plan. His opponent in this election, Larry Walsh, has made it clear that he opposes any request for open and subsurface mining operations, and portable batch concrete and asphalt plant operations, as well as other initiatives that run counter to the Douglas County Master Plan.
Your votes for Dave Nelson and Larry Walsh are crucial if the will of the majority of the people who are residents of Douglas County is to be heard. Early voting in the Primary is open now with the final day of voting June 14, 2016. Please vote.
Voting for Greg Lynn
I love this Valley. I have never been happier or busier since retiring and moving here in 2004. I haven’t always agreed with the decisions of our commissioners, but they are looking out for our county’s future well being. The community center should be a highlight for all of us. It will end up saving money for the county on numerous services as well as filling the needs of many. Thank you Greg Lynn and the others for doing what was right. It seems to me that the view of Nelson is limited and frightening. I don’t think the community center would be in existence if Nelson had been in office. Actually, I worry what would happen to the county if he is elected.
I’m left with the impression that I’m looking at a very angry and thin-skinned candidate in Nelson, who seems to have only the dimmest grasp of the way a county works. Between his trashing of county employees, on whom we depend for our safety and services, and his nonsensical no-tax, direct democracy gimmicks, this guy is just plain scary. I’m going for a tried and true guy with a solid record. I am voting for Greg Lynn and hope you will too.
Opposed to Lynn
In a June 8 letter, titled “Proud of my record,” Commissioner Lynn rehashes his tired rationalization for going against the will of the people. He cites unverified figures about alleged “projected” cost savings as justification for ramming through the senior center. Instead of his former tactic of saying it was justified since it was a senior “and” community center, he’s now saying it is OK because it cost less than that which the voters denied twice. Mr. Lynn, no means no. Consider the alternate reality Mr. Lynn has crafted for us: “If I think it worked out OK, no matter public opinion, it was the right thing to do and you should support me.” Very bad times in history have begun with seemingly benevolent leaders making similar statements.
Has anyone thought about what other spending Mr. Lynn might think is necessary in the future?
The slanders Mr. Lynn and his supporters have told about Mr. Nelson’s residency, the childish sign incident, and his signed pledge to be a Republican (when it suits him) reveal a fundamental lack of integrity.
Mr. Lynn closed his letter with, “I urge my neighbors and fellow citizens to choose carefully on election day.” Finally, wise advice from Mr. Lynn! It’s time Douglas County wished Mr. Lynn well and that we also make it clear we no longer want little kings on our county commission. Dave Nelson is the best choice in this race.
Nelson the better candidate
As the county commissioner campaign winds down, I would like to add my voice in support of Dave Nelson’s election. I have known and worked closely with Dave over the last three and one-half years. Dave was in charge of the Republican Party’s “Get Out the Vote” campaign in 2014, and was instrumental in our 2016 Caucus. His willingness to work hard and produce outstanding results are characteristics that will make him a great commissioner.
During the campaign he has dealt with various unseemly attacks on his motives and character with aplomb. He has an inner gyroscope that always keeps him on an even keel; he is unflappable in the face of adversity. With the exception of taxes, Dave is not intellectually rigid. He is engaging and willing to talk with you, not at you, concerning various issues facing the county. In discussions, he does not pontify from on high, but is a willing listener and encourages the give and take necessary to communicate with constituents.
He has an affinity for in-depth analysis. He is comfortable with problem-solving complex issues aided by computer generated “big data.” This will undoubtedly aid in budget review; and allocation of finite capital, labor, and revenue resources — exactly what voters demand. Dave has the resolve to maintain his principles and standards, and the analytical ability to successfully confront the unknown issues our county will face in the future.
Dave is founded in and unequivocally supports the Republican platform (in fact, he helped to write a large portion of it). He will actually work to achieve the goals of smaller government, less taxation, greater business opportunity, and economic vitality. He is a man capable of dealing with problems not yet anticipated or foreseen based on his strong Republican foundation.
We are electing a man to represent us at the county level, a man who will not arrogantly treat us as uninformed, unsophisticated spectators, incapable of forming or voicing a basic opinion regarding county issues.
I am voting for Dave Nelson for good reason, and I hope you will too.
Supporting Frank Godecke
As president of the Douglas Country Farm Bureau, I urge all residents to cast their ballots on June 14 for longtime resident Frank Godecke, running for County Commissioner. His roots are firmly in Nevada soil—the Godecke family started ranching here over 100 years ago, so he has a deep appreciation for the agricultural heritage and issues that impact all of us lucky enough to call this valley home.
Service to the community has always been a Godecke family value—his dad, Ray, was a commissioner in the ‘70s and Frank has most recently shown his leadership abilities at the helm of the Planning Commission. He is extremely knowledgeable about how everything works here, which is essential for this position.
Commitment, integrity, experience, common sense—these attributes all make Frank Godecke the most qualified candidate.