Two new members appointed to GID

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VIRGINIA CITY In the wake of a dispute that has split Rainbow Bend, Storey County commissioners Tuesday appointed two new board members for the Canyon General Improvement District.

Appointed were Rainbow Bend residents Ed Gilbert and Gary Hokenson.

"They are neutral, they know the issues and they're interested in developing viable solutions to Rainbow Bend's problems," Commissioner Bob Kershaw said. "I hope the other board members will respect our decision today."

The five-member improvement district board recently lost two members Ñ one to recall when voters rejected the board's chairman Pat Shannon in mid-January, and Robert Schnaufer resigned shortly after.

In early February, two members of the improvement district board met to appoint the new members, but board member Brad Bryant was not present. Dave Cockerton and Marvin Clark, the only two board members in attendance, appointed Tom Davidson and Buddy Mays to the board.

The Attorney General's Office ruled that two members did not constitute a quorum.It's a decision Mark Gunderson, attorney for the improvement district, challenges.

"To give effect to the ability of a GID to function, a quorum must exist when a majority of the board members seated are present," Gunderson wrote in a letter to the commissioners Tuesday. "A realistic reading of the law must permit a GID to function. The county has no power or right to oppose the acts of the CGID, since the board properly and timely filled the vacancies on its board."

Brad Bryant, the only member of the improvement district present at Tuesday's meeting, supported the commissioners' move.

Kershaw said officials at the improvement district's main office said Tuesday afternoon Mays and Davidson would be stepping down.

"I still hope the GID can work, but I believe some things must change," Kershaw said. "The GID should work for the people, not a developer. I don't want to micro-manage the GID. I have enough Storey County issues to worry about."

Water supply problems have plagued the small community for yearsand came to a head this summer when the shortage became so critical residents were compelled to let their lawns and landscaping dry up to save water.

The improvement district board has been developing an agreement with Washoe County for an extra water supply as mandated by the state, but it's an agreement viewed with some skepticism by Kershaw.

The improvement district acquired a $1.7 million grant from the state for the project. Under the agreement, neither the district nor Storey County would own the infrastructure, water tank and purification plant, built with the grant. The people of Rainbow Bend Ñ by virtue of the improvement district Ñ would be required to maintain and operate the facility, but the license granted by Washoe County to run the facility could be revoked at any time, for any reason. The water rights, too, would belong to Washoe County.

"If Washoe County decides to kick us out, we would own nothing but water line," Kershaw said. "Our original agreement stated that we would own assets, but this new agreement is the total opposite. I don't see how anyone who lives in Storey County could back this agreement."

Another option just now being considered includes using the grant money to dig a 3.2-mile trench west toward Reno and allow Truckee Meadows Water Authority to supply water to Rainbow Bend, Kershaw said.

"We can petition Sierra Pacific Pow


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