Having now lived over 60 years on this good earth, aside from college, all of them in Carson City/Douglas County, I have never seen such a perfect storm of broad economic growth for a long period like we are now all facing.
The infrastructure challenges, such as roads, highways, water, sewer, broadband, schools, shopping, medical care, etc. alone are daunting. The impact is spread around between the 5 county “Sierra Region” (Douglas County, Carson City, Lyon County, Storey County, and Churchill County).
On Wednesday morning I was witness to a great public event in Carson City where a representative from each of those 5 counties gave a brief presentation to local business owners on how they are handling their share of the massive economic growth spurred on by Tesla et al out at the Tahoe Regional Industrial Center (TRI for short). Speaking of Tesla, I learned that they are currently only at about 30% of their projected buildout. Today, their building is already over 8 million square feet and they have over 6,600 employees. AND THAT IS ONLY 30% of their goal!!!!
I heard a great idea from the creator of this economic miracle, Lance Gillman. Storey County Commissioner and TRI entrepreneur.
Lance suggested creating a regional group for solving all the growth challenges rather than leaving things to each county separately. Think about it. Lyon County is going to get the brunt of the new houses built for all the TRI workers. They will in essence become the “bedroom community” for Storey County’s TRI. They will have to expand their Police, Fire, Courthouse, Jail, Water, Sewer, roads, etc. and most of the revenues generated by all these TRI employees will go to Storey County. Storey County may need to pass some of those tax revenues back to Lyon County to help defray some of their costs. Carson City will also be growing to support a lot of the housing demand for TRI, but it has State Government and it’s own healthy Industrial Center to help defray the costs of absorbing more citizens. Lyon needs more water that Douglas County has, and the pipeline is already in place to the Carson/Lyon border. Churchill County might be able to give up some of it’s water rights from the Carson River? Fallon may become a future large city housing a lot of TRI employees as well. They could use a better water purification process among other things.
It is going to take a great leader, working with a small dedicated group of regional representatives to bring all the diverse Counties together and get them to solve each other’s problems as a group rather than working only from inside their own borders.
Who will that “great” leader be? Mayor Crowell comes to mind as an excellent candidate. Outgoing Governor Brian Sandoval might also be a good choice. It will take somebody who is well known, trusted and capable to get diverse parties to make compromises for the greater good of the region. There must be other candidates. We need somebody to organize this. It might require a ballot initiative. It might require a law created in the Legislature. This “Sierra Region Partnership” (SRP?) would have to have some clout that goes beyond the individual 5 County borders in order to break occasional stubborn impasses.
Those are my thoughts. What do I know? I’m just a goofy CPA out here in the sagebrush of Nevada. I love this state! I love this region! I want all of us to be able to enjoy living here. No foolin!!!!
Kelly Bullis is a Certified Public Accountant in Carson City. Contact him at 882-4459. On the web at BullisAndCo.com Also on Facebook.