Storey supervisor says five members could mean better representation
Increasing the Storey County Board of Supervisors from three members to five could give Storey voters a better voice in local affairs, the board’s chairman said Saturday.
That is, if those supervisors are elected by voters from their own districts rather than countywide, chairman Charles Haynes added.
“If each member is elected from just the voters in a district, that gives them the chance to put someone they want on the board,” Haynes said. “If the whole county votes for each position, the larger part could kind of ‘gang up’ and keep the less popular voice off the board.”
Discussion and possible action on increasing the size of the board is scheduled at the supervisor’s meeting Tuesday at 10 a.m. in the Storey County Courthouse in Virginia City.
The issue of a five-member board of supervisors may go before Storey’s voters later this year, as would the question of whether voters would elect county supervisors at large or by district.
Haynes said Nevada law requires that, when a county votes whether to increase the size of it board of supervisors, the same election ballot must also put the question of at-large or district voting for the seats.
“Every county that has increased the size of its board has also chosen to go to district elections,” Haynes said.
Storey already had three supervisor districts and a supervisor has to live in the district to run for its seat. But the present system lets all Storey voters cast ballots for all three seats. In a district-type election, only the voters of a particular district could cast ballots for its supervisor candidates.
He said a lot of work already has gone into figuring out how five county districts would be laid out.
Haynes said each district must have as close to 20 percent of the county’s voters as possible and the areas have to be contiguous – the Mark Twain end of the county could not be joined with the River District area to form a new district.
He said Virginia City, because of its size, would be split into two districts and each would get half of the Mark Twain area. The Storey County portion of Mark Twain has only a small population, he said, and its residents are more closely tied with Virginia city than the rest of the county because they typically use Six Mile Canyon Road
The other two major population concentrations – the Virginia Highlands north of Virginia City and residents of the River district along the Truckee River and Interstate 80 would get the remaining three district, Haynes said. He said one district would cover most of the Highlands, one would cover most of the River district and the last district would have to be half Highlands and half River.
“I spent two days reading all the Nevada Revised Statutes on this stuff and another five days digesting it,” Haynes said.
He said locations of all the county’s voters were placed on a map in a computer to help work out how the districts would have to be drawn. Once the final boundaries are proposed, they will have to be reviewed and approved by the Legislative Counsel Bureau and the Secretary of State’s Office, he said.
Among other items for discussion and possibly for action on Tuesday’s agenda are:
— An ordinance approving the development agreement for the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center and another creating the industrial center’s general improvement district.
— Review of the county’s audit for the 1998-99 fiscal year.
— a request for permission for people to dress in costume and solicit customers from the street for a planned Shakespeare Festival in Piper’s Opera House in July and August.
— A possible agreement with Larry Beller & Associates Inc. to represent the county regarding collective bargaining with the law enforcement officer’s association.