Commission candidates address housing, water

Candidates for County Commission District 1 and 3 spoke before the Churchill Entrepreneur Development Agency members at an April 25 breakfast. From left: Todd Moretto, Matt Hyde, Julie Guerrero-Goetsch, Eric Blakey and Rusty Jardine. Not pictured is John Caetano.

Candidates for County Commission District 1 and 3 spoke before the Churchill Entrepreneur Development Agency members at an April 25 breakfast. From left: Todd Moretto, Matt Hyde, Julie Guerrero-Goetsch, Eric Blakey and Rusty Jardine. Not pictured is John Caetano.
Photo by Steve Ranson.

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Candidates for the Churchill County Commission Districts 1 and 3 offered their perspectives on the issues critical to the Lahontan Valley at the April 25 breakfast meeting of the Churchill Entrepreneur Development Agency.

Two candidates are running for District 1, Matt Hyde and Julie Guerrero-Goetsch. Both are county employees, and they both serve as trustees with the Churchill County School Board.

Three of the four candidates running for District 3 attended the breakfast. They were Eric Blakely, Rusty Jardine and Todd Moretto. John Caetano was out of town.

Blakey is the current chairman of the Churchill County Planning Commission. Jardine served as the general manager of the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District before retiring, and Todd Moretto is a maintenance planner for Kennametal and owner of Auditory Sensations. Caetano has not submitted information on his candidacy.

Mark Feest, CEDA’s president, introduced the candidates, and each individual gave an overview on their background and candidacy.

Blakey has lived in Fallon for 27 years, and he said he and his wife have multiple businesses.

“I have traveled many roads and the people in Churchill County are outstanding. I’m ready to serve,” said Blakey, who’s an electrician. “I’ve accomplished all my goals. I have the free time to be a county commissioner.”

To Blakey, being a commissioner is a full-time position and also a challenge. He added he lives on principles and makes wise decisions.

“The small business of our community is what employs our citizens and provides things for the community that normal citizens can’t provide and give,” he said. “This is my home, and I have no intention of leaving. I still have a lot to give.”

Blakey said water for the valley is crucial and is needed for the area’s agriculture.

“It (water) can be taken away with a stroke,” he said.

MAJOR PROBLEM FACING CHURCHILL COUNTY — Housing and the county’s budget issues. More housing means more businesses and medical.

Hyde is a longtime employee of CC Communications who plans to retire from the agency at the end of this year if he wins the commission office. Hyde, who was born in Fallon, has been married for 30 years in October, and his wife is a teacher.

During the past decade, Hyde has been a school trustee, but he considers his time as board leader the hardest job.

“I was board chairman for two years during COVID,” he said. “We had to make difficult decisions.”

Hyde points with pride the school district has been able to meet state statutes in balancing the budget. He said other school districts would inquire to see what Churchill County was doing to meet the challenges of the pandemic.

He has also served on the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association’s board of control.

Hyde said Naval Air Station Fallon is expected to grow 35% by 2026. He said the infrastructure with water and sewer is important and laments housing costs have increased.

Guerrero-Goetsch is the administrative services manager for Churchill County and has lived in the county 24 years with her husband, Brad, a retired commanding officer of Naval Air Station Fallon.

“The last 20 years I’ve been working and serving Churchill County,” she said, adding she began working with the county commission when Jim Regan served.

Guerrero-Goetsch said in her current positions she has been able to work with the courts and the other county departments.

“That has given me a lot of perspective and history,” she said.

Over the years Guerrero-Goetsch said she’s been passionate about the air station and the conservation easement program, which protects agriculture around the naval air station and its associated ranges as long as it’s compatible with the Navy’s mission.

Guerrero-Goetsch said the small businesses play a big role with the easements. She also said the three important industries in the county are renewable energy, agriculture and the military.

Guerrero-Goetsch said housing is a concern. She said the local area needs to meet the demand. She said many commuters who live in Fernley said they want to both live and work in Fallon but can’t find suitable housing. She said the county budget is also a challenge.

Jardine is the retired legal counsel and general manager of TCID. Before that he was a deputy district attorney in Churchill County. Jardine said he was born to be a public servant.

Jardine said the top issues will be solving the county’s budget and deficit. He said by the end of the year before the two new commissioners take office, he predicts a solution will be in place to address the budget woes.

Jardine said the flood of 2008, when the V-line canal developed a leak 16 years ago, led him to the top position at TCID.

“They asked me to come in and clean it up,” he said of the recovery to fix the canal and restore water to the area.

Jardine said a concern arose at that time the U.S. government could’ve assumed control of TCID, which it didn’t.

He said water is an issue, which brings a delicate balance to the community.

Over the years, though, Moretto feels he has a good pulse on the community.

“I’m always looking,” he said. “We do a lot of things well in this community … and some things not so good.”

Moretto grew up with county politics in the home. His later mother Trena was the Churchill County recorder and had also served in that office for 28 years. He said being around his mother and going to some of her events made him wiser about Churchill County and what may previous commissions successful.

Moretto said he’s on the Fallon Cantaloupe Festival and has seen the success of the annual event grow. He said the festival has grown with its vendors and exhibits.

Moretto said Churchill County is a special place with hardworking residents.

“There’s a lot of experience in this county that we don’t utilize and we don’t ask,” he said.

He said it’s difficult for a person earning $75,000 annually to buy a new home. He said growth is inevitable, and said an industrial park is important.


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