Lyon County looks to stimulus for help with projects | NevadaAppeal.com

Lyon County looks to stimulus for help with projects

Dave Frank
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer

Lyon County hopes for about $155 million from the proposed federal stimulus bill to help it with county projects delayed by the slow economy.

The county’s requests include $30 million in Highway 50 improvements, $20 million for a new county jail, $15 million for other road projects and $7.5 million for a new juvenile detention center.

County Manager Dennis Stark said the most important project request is a new jail. He said the county has been trying to think of a solution to the out-of-code Yerington jail for years.

“That’s a health and safety issue,” Stark said.

Stark told an Assembly committee last week about how the economy has hurt the county with a 12.1 percent unemployment rate, the highest in the state.

In the last year, foreclosures increased by more than 1,200 percent, building permit applications have slowed and land values dropped, he told the committee. Also, the sheriff’s department is understaffed and utility costs have risen, he said.

“As we are all aware, budget constraints at the county level seem insurmountable,” Stark said in a letter to Sen. Harry Reid’s office.

“It is only with assistance from our legislators that we are adequately able to meet the needs of our constituents.”

Ron Radil, executive director of the state-funded Western Nevada Development District, said the most common request for the federal stimulus package from rural Nevada counties is infrastructure.

These requests are for essential government services like roads, water lines and sewer projects, he said.

Counties can’t attract the business they need if they don’t have the infrastructure in place, he said.

The seven counties the district represents are looking for about $554 million in help.

Counties will not know immediately what is funded if the bill passes, however. The money will go to federal or state agencies to be distributed for projects.

Carson City is looking for about $47 million from the stimulus package for projects including streets improvements, sewer plant upgrades, the V&T Railway and the Carson City Airport. Storey County is looking for about $140 million for roads, industrial park infrastructure and water and sewer upgrades.

– Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.