State says Fernley cityhood feasible

Public hearings in a month or two will give people a chance to tell the Lyon County Commission how they feel about incorporating Fernley as a city.

A state Committee on Local Government Finance on Monday deemed a proposal to turn Fernley into a city financially feasible. This allows the incorporation process to continue.

"For Fernley, I think it's a good deal," Lyon County Commission Chairman LeRoy Goodman said. "At least it will go to a vote now."

Once the committee's official recommendation arrives in Yerington, commissioners will have 14 days to set a date for a public hearing that must occur 14 to 30 days later. More public hearings may be scheduled in the month following the first hearing, according to state law.

"If this thing works right, there could be a September election," Goodman said.

Goodman said all five commissioners support efforts to incorporate Fernley.

Once the public hearings are finished, commissioners have 30 days to issue an opinion on the incorporation bid. If the opinion is favorable, they must set an election date that falls between 60 and 120 days after the opinion is issued.

Fernley will become a city if more than half of the registered voters within the town boundaries vote in favor of incorporation.

"We can't let up," said Debra Brazell, chairwoman of the Fernley Incorporation Committee. "We need the support of the community."

Brazell and Goodman easily convinced the Committee on Local Government Finance that Fernley's booming industrial and residential growth provides enough tax revenue to support a city government.

The nine-member committee is composed of representatives from the Nevada League of Cities, the Nevada Association of Counties, the Nevada Board of Accountancy and the Nevada School Trustees Association. The committee, working with the Nevada Department of Taxation, closely examined Fernley tax statistics.

The finance committee's main concern at the hearing in the Legislative Building in Carson City was whether Lyon County and Fernley would be able to reach agreements to have the county continue to provide some services. The incorporation proposal calls for Fernley to contract fire protection and sheriff's services from Lyon County.

Goodman and Lyon County Manager Steve Snyder assured the finance committee that the county wants to work with Fernley.

"I see we would enter into negotiations with Fernley with a spirit of friendship and cooperation," Snyder said.

Fernley's third attempt at incorporation has progressed farther than the first two failed attempts in the 1990s. Passing the scrutiny of the finance committee clears a major hurdle.

Goodman vividly described how strong the assessed value of property in Fernley is.

"Our assessed valuation is greater than eight other cities and six counties in Nevada," said Goodman, who lives has lived in Fernley for 35 years. "In four years, our assessed valuation has more than doubled."

In those four years, major industry arrived in Fernley, creating some 1,000 new jobs for a town's whose population is perhaps 10,000., Quebecor, Trex, UPS and more than 500 new homes in the past year alone took the total assessed value of Fernley from $91 million to $212 million since 1995.

"I think that based on this assessed valuation that this community can certainly be incorporated," finance committee member Therral Jackson said.


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