Storey County is comprised of four main communities, Lockwood/The River District, The Virginia City Highlands, Mark Twain & Virginia City/Gold Hill. Dating back to May 2017 I have expanded my involvement with all four communities in the County. This exposure has opened my eyes to issues which are present in the communities in Storey County.
Communication between elected Officials and residents is a necessity. Decisions are often made without much input from us, the residents. As your Commissioner I will be proactive in informing the residents of Storey County of upcoming decisions, as I have with the residents of the Virginia City Highlands. This will be accomplished by using tools such as Facebook, Twitter and local message boards.
As Storey County continues to grow, you deserve to know what is happening in your government, and to have a say in how we grow.
During my first term, communication has been improved throughout all corners of the County. Social media has been a great tool to help get news and information out to the masses. We also now have a synopsis of the Commissioners meetings available via online sources or for those who prefer non online sources, they can get the updates in the Comstock Chronicle. Lastly, our Commission meetings are now viewable live through Zoom. This gives residents the opportunity to participate and listen from the comfort of their homes.
The Sheriff's Office is hampered by poor radio coverage with numerous dead spots throughout the county where deputies and dispatch cannot communicate. This is a public safety issue for both residents and emergency responders. As your Commissioner I will make this one of my top priorities.
Working closely with County Management and the Sheriff's Office, we can budget for improving the radio communication for the Sheriff's Office. The Fire Department’s radio system provides better coverage in the same areas, so by improving the Sheriff’s system, all of our emergency responders will be able to work more efficiently and effectively.
This project was one of the first major projects I was proud to be an integral part of. We were finally able to say goodbye to our antiquated emergency communications system. We upgraded our 911 Dispatch Center with modern equipment as well as finding them a new larger location. We also were able to outfit the Sheriff's Office and Fire Department with new radios in their vehicles and handheld units. This major upgrade makes the jobs of our emergency responders just that much safer.
Storey County is large in terms of land and economic growth. With the County being so spread out, there is little unity among the four main communities. Each area and its needs are handled differently by our elected officials.
As your Commissioner, I will work with the Commissioners of the other districts to establish a uniform system for addressing the needs of the communities.
The thinking caps came out for this one, for sure. We developed the position of a Community Relations Coordinator to work with each community to identify their specifics needs. Once identified, the Commission & Staff are able to work towards getting those needs met. With assistance from the Community Relations Coordinator a uniform system has been created to request projects available through the yearly $10,000 allotted to each community.
LOCAL BUSINESS & TOURISM
Currently, it seems that most of our efforts and resources are focused on the Northern part of the County in the industrial park. While the industrial park is a great asset to our County, there are numerous income generating businesses located in the heart of Storey County.
Virginia City specifically has been, and still is, the primary reason why people come to our County to spend their money. As your Commissioner, I will work to support the local businesses on C Street and use resources to bolster tourism as well as strengthen the retail businesses currently generating revenue for the County.
No one could have predicted the Covid 19 pandemic but it afforded the tourism department an opportunity to do what they do best and promote our town while the rest of the country was essentially shut down. As a Board member of the VCTC since I took office, I was able to participate in the restructuring of our marketing plan during the pandemic to keep our local merchants open and busy.
COMMUNITY CENTERS & SENIORS
After eight months of attending community events in various parts of the County, it is apparent to me that Community / Senior Centers are vital. The various centers in Mark Twain, Lockwood and Virginia City offer residents of all ages a place to congregate. These Centers offer various programs for Seniors, computer access for students, kitchens for food preparation and an area to hold meetings.
In contrast, the Highlands is the only community within Storey County that does not have a Community/Senior Center for its residents. Currently, Highlands residents rely on the Community Chest and the Senior Center in Virginia City. The idea of a Center in the Highlands has been talked about but little progress has been made in making it a reality. As your Commissioner, I will make this project a priority. The benefits of having a Center located within the Virginia City Highlands far outweigh any hurdles that need to be overcome to make it a reality.