Area county officials predict strong growth in 2019

Area county officials expect another banner year in 2019.

“Overall, the city’s outlook is strong, continued growth expected this year,” said Nancy Paulson, Carson City manager.

Paulson was one of five county managers who spoke to a full audience inside the Casino Fandango Grand Ballroom where Northern Nevada Development Authority held its “State of the Counties” breakfast on Wednesday.

Paulson said after the first four month of the new fiscal year, the city is projecting its sales tax to grow 8.8 percent and in 2020 is expecting property tax valuations to rise 6 percent and the tax to increase 4.1 percent.

In calendar year 2018, the valuation of building permits issued in Carson City hit $102.8 million. Paulson said 567 permits for residential units were issued and more than half were for the Carson Hills Apartment project behind the Galaxy Fandango movie theater. The builder pulled 60 permits in August and another 310 in December, which is the total units of the project.

Paulson highlighted other new development in the works, including a residential project on the east side of Lompa Ranch, which is a recently approved tentative planned unit development; the Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center expansion starting construction by the end of the year; and the new Nissan dealership on South Carson Street, which is expected to open by year end.

Paulson also talked about the South Carson Street project that will start construction before 2020 and be completed in 2021.

Infrastructure is key, according to other county managers. Churchill, Douglas, and Lyon counties are all expanding waste water treatment facilities.

“We’ll eventually double the plant’s capacity,” said Jenifer Davidson, acting county manager in Douglas County.

Davidson talked about business development, including a 700,000 square foot expansion at the Starbucks roasting facility, which has added 30 full-time jobs, and the start of production at the Bently Heritage Estate Distillery in downtown Minden, which added 35 new jobs.

“We are eagerly awaiting its opening,” said Davidson.

At Lake Tahoe, an events center projected to add $44 million in new visitor spending is currently under review at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Davidson said.

Business is booming at the Tahoe Regional Industrial Center in Storey County. The park brought the county $8 million in revenue, but the county must also pay back, interest-free, $41 million in infrastructure costs fronted by the developer, and both Tesla and Switch have lengthy tax abatement deals with the state.

And the high-tech businesses there may not be bringing in as many jobs as originally assumed when the park expected to attract large distribution sites, said Austin Osborne, administrative officer and planning director for Storey County.

The county is focusing on bringing more housing, including a proposed development of up to 5,000 homes at Painted Rock, said Osborne, and a similar but smaller-scale project at Lockwood Mustang.

Churchill County is looking forward to a large residential development, too. Sky Ranch, a planned unit development of 2,700 homes, was approved last year. Building permits jumped by 20 percent in 2018 and the county’s sales tax increased by 5 percent, said Jim Barbee, county manager.

“We’re encouraged by seeing the general fund get back to 2010 level,” he said.

The county also built a new jail and sheriff’s office last year, and is working on expanding its water facilities.

“Infrastructure is going to be key on moving forward,” said Barbee.

Lyon, too, is focusing on infrastructure, including waste water and water, public transportation, Highway 50, and health care.

“We don’t have providers. Most children in school do not have a primary care physician,” said Jeff Page.

The county also is launching a task force to address its chronic problem of poverty.

In terms of business, the county is working to develop its own industrial park, the Northern Nevada Industrial Center, on 6,000 acres south of the Storey County park, and Nevada Copper will begin building its mill site in April.

Page said the thing he’s most proud of is a regional wide effort to stop fighting over business recruitment.

“I don’t care who got the business, whether it is Carson City or Lyon County as long as it brings jobs,” said Page. “Kudos to the other counties here for continuing that process.”


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