Kelly J. Bullis: Business seeing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
March 31, 2018
Having now lived more than 60 years on this good earth, aside from college all of them in Carson City/Douglas County, I've never seen such a perfect storm of broad economic growth for a long period like we're now all facing.
The infrastructure challenges, such as roads, highways, water, sewer, broadband, schools, shopping, medical care, etc., alone are daunting. The impact is spread around between the five-county Sierra region (Douglas County, Carson City, Lyon County, Storey County, and Churchill County).
On Wednesday morning I was witness to a great public event in Carson City where a representative from each of those five counties gave a brief presentation to local business owners on how they're handling their share of the massive economic growth spurred on by Tesla et al., out at the Tahoe Regional Industrial Center (TRIC for short). Speaking of Tesla, I learned it's currently only at about 30 percent of its projected buildout. Today, its building is already more than 8 million square feet and it has more than 6,600 employees. And that's only 30 percent of its goal!
I heard a great idea from the creator of this economic miracle, Lance Gillman, Storey County commissioner and TRI entrepreneur.
Gillman suggested creating a regional group for solving all the growth challenges rather than leaving things to each county separately. Think about it. Lyon County is going to get the brunt of the new houses built for all the TRIC workers. They will, in essence, become the "bedroom community" for Storey County's TRIC. They'll have to expand their police, fire, courthouse, jail, water, sewer, roads, etc. and most of the revenues generated by all these TRIC employees will go to Storey County. Storey County may need to pass some of those tax revenues back to Lyon County to help defray some of its costs. Carson City will also be growing to support a lot of the housing demand for TRIC, but it has state government and its own healthy industrial center to help defray the costs of absorbing more citizens. Lyon needs more water that Douglas County has, and the pipeline is already in place to the Carson/Lyon border. Churchill County might be able to give up some of its water rights from the Carson River. Fallon may become a future large city housing a lot of TRIC employees as well. It could use a better water purification process, among other things.
It's going to take a great leader, working with a small dedicated group of regional representatives, to bring all the diverse counties together and get them to solve each other's problems as a group rather than working only from inside their own borders.
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Who will that "great" leader be? Mayor Crowell comes to mind as an excellent candidate. Outgoing Gov. Brian Sandoval might also be a good choice. It will take somebody who's well known, trusted and capable to get diverse parties to make compromises for the greater good of the region. There must be other candidates. We need somebody to organize this. It might require a ballot initiative. It might require a law created in the Legislature. This Sierra region partnership would have to have some clout that goes beyond the individual five-county borders in order to break occasional stubborn impasses.
Those are my thoughts. What do I know? I'm just a goofy CPA out here in the sagebrush of Nevada. I love this state! I love this region! I want all of us to be able to enjoy living here. No foolin'!
Kelly Bullis is a Certified Public Accountant in Carson City. Contact him at 775-882-4459. He's on the web at BullisAndCo.com and also on Facebook.