Lyon commission reprioritizes ARPA funds in 4-1 vote

  • Discuss Comment, Blog about
  • Print Friendly and PDF

The Lyon County Commission voted to modify its American Rescue Plan Act budget, reapportioning more of its funds on the required federal government complexes in Dayton and Fernley and including a contingency budget of $357,878.63.
The board resumed previous discussions from its April 14 workshop and May 5 regular meeting on how to use its $6.1 million in federal ARPA money for capital projects and public service needs.
Commissioners have struggled with determining funding priorities for required federal justice complexes in Dayton and Fernley, installing a Dayton sewer line to avoid violations, putting in replacement asphalt, providing new bucking chutes for the county fairgrounds and building a new community center in Mound House.
On May 5, the board called for a second workshop after it was unable to agree on a direction and said while they would like to keep to their promise made on the community center, the lion’s share of the funding likely would have to be disbursed to the justice complexes.
County Manager Jeff Page reminded the board during the May 23 workshop of the federal requirement to establish a legitimate courthouse to hold jury trials for anyone arrested for domestic abuse. Currently, Lyon’s two courthouses in Dayton, an historic building, and Fernley do not meet the requirements.
“We’re pushing back trials because they have no place to hold trials, and the further we push them back, the more cases are sitting in limbo or are deferred prosecutions and now are being prosecuted for lesser charges,” Page said. “So the challenge I have is we can defer building a government building. What are we going to do when the Nevada Supreme Court says, ‘Here’s the order, get it done?’”
Commissioner Vida Keller, representing District 2, said it was important to take care of immediate needs first, saying inflation has been harmful on any recent decision. She also proposed looking at the amounts of big-ticket items first.
“We’re kicking the can on the Dayton complex because we’re going to end up looking for more money on that historical building,” Keller said. “We’ve had to do retrofits on that building more than once. And all we’re doing is throwing good money after bad.”
Commissioner Robert Jacobson, representing District 4, said he preferred to finish the Dayton justice complex before starting the Mound House community center.
“We don’t know the cost,” he said. “I’m just hesitant to allocate these funds. We don’t know the size. Are we reaching out to work with the Pennington (Foundation)? I’m all for it, I would love to have it, but I struggle with so many unknowns. Time is tight, and inflation’s going up. Construction is going up.”
Lyon County residents responding to the board’s conversation toward the end of the workshop disagreed with certain considerations about its allocations.
Ultimately, the Mound House center, which initially had been given $1 million, was reduced to $300,000. The Fernley Justice Complex expansion, initially provided approximately $1.82 million, received an increase to $2.2 million, and the Dayton sewer project also was increased from $1.5 million to $2.2 million.
Fernley Community Foundation Chair Cody Wagner said he believed there’s a “wider conversation” to be held about the City of Fernley as an incorporated entity with its substation expansion and public safety needs. But he also addressed other areas of the county.
“I feel like Silver Springs is getting the short end of the stick,” he said. “There was a food proposal that was brought up … that can really do something for the people who need help to recover from the pandemic.”
Board Chairman Ken Gray, frustrated by so many cuts, apologized at the end to those who wanted to add anything on top of anything already on the list.
“We had a hard time just dealing with what we had and omitting what we had,” he said. “I apologize but I don’t think it worked.”
The board voted 4-1 to approve the ARPA budget as changed including the contingency budget, with Jacobson opposed.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment