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Lyon County growth no paper tiger

PETER THOMPSON
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Plans to widen Highway 50 East to four lanes from Fortune Drive to Chavez Road is expected to go to bid in late April.
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Lyon County Commissioner Robert Milz says he was surprised to find out the county was only the seventh-fastest growing county in the country. “It’s nice to see somebody else has the same problems we do,” he laughed, referring to the six counties that topped Lyon on the list, including top-growing Flagler County in Florida.

“It isn’t something we asked for,” he said. “But I think we’ve done a good job keeping up with the growth. We’ve hired a new county manager with expertise in planning and a new county planner and are already advertising for a second one.”

But it’s not easy keeping up with the growth and infrastructure demands.

Milz, who moved to the Dayton area in 1988, says there were about 400 people he counted as neighbors. “Now we’ve got 15,000,” he said.

He attributes the meteoric growth to the reality of Carson City being built-out and Douglas County’s desire for a “limited-growth” environment.

“Naturally, people are going to come out here,” he said.

Future growth will be limited by the availability of water, but Milz predicts continued expansion, projecting up to 70,000 residents in the Dayton basin by 2025.

Overall, Milz said he sees the growth as a positive thing – the increased population is leading to businesses and services moving into the county, inevitably putting more money into local coffers.

Surprisingly, he said, it’s not the longtime residents and ranchers who raise the most dust about the county’s population boom. “They see it as more or less inevitable,” said Milz.

“A lot of the people complaining are the ones who’ve moved from California,” he said. “They want the same standard of services they had there but make a lot of noise when you try to raise taxes to accommodate them.”

n Contact reporter Peter Thompson at pthompson@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1215.