Fallon Mayor Ken Tedford and newly elected Councilwoman Karla Kent took their oaths of office Friday in a Ceremony of Protocol conducted at the City Hall courtyard.
Tedford, a Fallon native who has been the city’s mayor and chief executive since 1995, and Kent, who comes from a longtime family that founded one the oldest businesses in the state, were elected in June. The ceremony attracted more than 250 people to an event Tedford called an important occasion in the continuing history of Fallon, which was incorporated in 1908. A color guard from Naval Air Station Fallon paraded the colors, District Attorney Art Mallory led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, Melinda Parker sung the national anthem and Brennen Behimer delivered the invocation.
“I’m proud to be mayor of Fallon,” Tedford said, who took his oath of office from Municipal Court Judge Michael R. Lister with his four adult children looking on.
Tedford, though, spent the first part of his mayoral address commending the public service of Robert “Bob” Erickson, who served two terms as a councilman, 1983-1987 and 2005-2019, two terms as mayor from 1987-1995, and six months as a county commissioner after Jim Regan died in 2000.
“I was fortunate to have Mayor Erickson as a mentor for my first terms as a councilman from 1987 to 1995,” Tedford said. “Bob, you will recall, these were learning experiences for me on the council. In all those years Mayor Bob performed brilliantly. That is what public servants strive for but many fall short.”
Tedford also acknowledged Erickson’s wife, Mary Beth, and their son, Ryan, for playing an important in his life as an elected official and also his business career.
“I will miss them all,” Tedford added.
Tedford then welcomed Kent to the council.
“The city of Fallon has historically been represented by strong, compassionate and fair-minded people who represent their constituents well and have a zeal for the city of Fallon,” he said. “I know Karla will follow in the footsteps of her predecessors.”
Tedford touted the oath of office ceremony at any level as an orderly transition of power, which is the envy of the world. Additionally, he said the day’s business at City Hall is handled efficiently, fairly and quickly. The Fallon mayor also praised his Public Works department and Fallon’s police department, and pledged the police department will remain strong, which drew applause.
With Nevada’s recent economic boom, Tedford gave a State of the City address, saying challenges loom ahead such as a growing housing market and keeping up with the city’s infrastructure. He added the city will continue to work closely with the Churchill County Commission to solve programs vital to the community. He also noted three projects the city has undertaken.
Tedford pointed out the recent ground-breaking ceremony of the new $7 million, 15,000-square-foot Fallon Youth Center, which is 90 percent funded by the William N. Pennington Foundation. He also praised the foundation for funding the new senior citizen center (William N. Pennington Life Center) on South Maine Street, which opened two years ago, and also retired county Controller Alan Kalt, who worked tirelessly to make the funding from the foundation a reality.
The mayor said the Front Street Reconstruction Project will begin either later this year or during the first part of 2020. The city also received a Community Block Development Grant to help fund the project, which will cost under $3 million. He said the project is still in the design phase, which will provide repaving of several streets and add curbs and sidewalks to a small corridor of the city.
The third project that may begin in early 2020 is the continuation of the Downtown Maine Street Project, which is beautifying one of the city’s major arteries. Funded 90 percent by a federal government grant, the project will beautify the area from Front Street to Tolas Place.
Kent said she is looking forward to serving her first term.
“I have a lot to learn,” she said, “but I would like to see more residential growth in the city of Fallon. Residents bring in the businesses.”
Kent, though, said she favors the city’s approach to controlled growth. With the increased number of businesses coming into the Lahontan Valley and especially Fernley, she said Fallon is ready. She referred to a 4,300 acre, master-planned commercial and industrial park in Fernley, the only Institutional Grade Industrial Park with manufacturing and rail serving Northern Nevada and with access to two transcontinental highways. Developers estimate more than 10,000 new jobs could be generated as a direct and indirect result of this development.
“With our infrastructure, we have a lot to offer,” she said. “We will glean a lot from the project.”