County commission expansion requires county vote |

County commission expansion requires county vote

staff reports

VIRGINIA CITY – A cry for representation may lead to a five-member Storey County Commission.

“When you get down to it, this is a little gerrymandering,” said Commission Chairman Charles Haynes. “If it’s changed the makeup of the board, that’s gerrymandering in my book.”

The commission is expected to discuss a proposal to expand the commission from three members to five members at a Jan. 18 meeting.

Commissioners heard about the proposal from Commissioner Carl Trink. Trink said that he’s tired of bringing up proposals and getting nothing.

“I’ve been the odd man out,” he said Wednesday night. “It’s been my case of sitting there and getting nothing accomplished.”

Trink said there are great differences in the districts in the county, and enlarging the commission would bring added responsibility to the commission.

Currently, the three zones from which the commissioners are elected are the North District, which includes a portion of Virginia City and the Virginia City Highlands; the South District,s which includes a portion of Virginia City and Mark Twain; and the River District, which is to the north. Commissioners represent specific districts, but are elected countywide.

“If I can get one more vote at the next meeting, we won’t have to go to a petition,” Trink said.

A ballot proposal is being prepared, and a petition to collect names is being readied for circulation, he said.

State law requires such a change be placed on a ballot for a general vote. There are an estimated 1,600 registered voters in the county, and 20 percent of the signatures would have to be collected to get the measure on the county ballot.

“They seem to think that they can put it on the primary ballot, and if they can get it through, they can go to the general (election) and get commissioners in an election,” Haynes said. He added that it would take two more years.

Haynes said that it obviously is part of a larger agenda.

“Every aspect in the NRS (Nevada Revised Statutes) when looked at seems to open up a whole new can of worms,” he said. “It’s going to take more than just a simple vote.”

He added that there are costs to changing the commission: salaries, benefits, staff and support. In addition, it would cost the county for a ballot measure.

“When you look at the costs, and not just the commission salaries, you have to ask, ‘Do we have to make more money?'” he said.