CHUCK ROBERTS – INCUMBENT COMMISSIONER DISTRICT 1
Total Contributions: $20,466.50
Largest Contribution: $2,500 (Mary Robertson)
- Specifically, why should the voters select you to serve as Lyon County Commissioner over your opponent? If you are the incumbent, what have you done to warrant re-election over your challenger? If you are the challenger, what would you do differently/What has your opponent done wrong? The following issues were noted by the candidates during the primary. Please be specific regarding the issues you consider relevant/important, possibly including:
Completing my first term as Commissioner, I have fulfilled all promises and commitments made during my 2008 campaign. I will continue to follow that path. Having lived in Lyon County for 29 years, I understand its regional diversities and will continue to represent all citizens accordingly.
I have been the catalyst for two important board accomplishments: 1) changing the working relationship between the board and staff, including a reorganization of the budget process–that is, all players at the same table at the same time; and 2) the introduction of the first comprehensive strategic plan.
I have worked my way through various levels of public service within Lyon County to the office of County Commissioner. Being self-employed allows me the time to fulfill the duties of the office without interruption. I engage in continuing education, including public finance, and have experience in over 32 public budgets.
As an experienced Commissioner, I understand the many issues facing local government. As a business owner, I understand the issues facing the private sector.
I am not a single-issue or limited-issue candidate. I am an evidence-based decision maker with a proven record of strong leadership. I have the experience, dedication, training, and relationships to be a member of the Commission that will lead Lyon County into the future.
I currently serve on the Lyon County Board of Commissioners, as chair. I also serve several other ex-officio positions, including serving as a Director of the Carson Water Subconservancy District, as chair, and as a Director of the Dayton Valley Conservation District. I have served six years as a Lyon County Planning Commissioner and have served six additional Lyon County board appointments, including nine chairmanships, during my 14 uninterrupted years of community service to Lyon County. I have approximately 20 years of public service, which includes my service as a Nevada peace officer and volunteer fireman. I carry with me the experience, training, and relationships that have resulted from such service.
For the past 29 years, I have owned and managed a manufacturing business in Lyon County, wherein I engage in all matters of public relations, staff management, and fiscal responsibility. In managing a very competitive business, I am required to identify and resolve conflicts before any reach a crisis stage, act quickly and decisively on any market or conditional changes, and stretch each dollar to its maximum benefit.
- Dealing with the projected/continuing budget shortfall, including priorities in balancing the budget and unfunded mandates from the State
Unfunded mandates are a serious issue that the County is preparing to address. The County must continue to work closely with the Legislature and partner-counties in mitigating budgetary issues. The Board of Commissioners will, for the first time, be required to set priorities of services as a matter of policy. Public safety has and will likely continue as the top priority.
I recommend that the Commission, in the near future, set hearings to receive input from the citizenry regarding the levels of service to be provided under the pending budget constraints. The Commission will then be required to identify those services that are mandated by statute, including other contractual obligations, and set those respective service/funding levels. The next step will be to identify the non-mandated but essential services and set those service/funding levels.
- Improving Lyon County’s economic climate, unemployment rate
As a result of the current economic cycle, government and business will face many challenges. Individual citizens will experience unique challenges of their own. Government can not overrule economic cycles. Together, we must and will grow our way out of this cycle.
As we focus on economic recovery, we must not overlook the many other responsibilities of local government, such as public safety, libraries, senior services . . . all must be maintained.
Lyon County is on the proper course and is positioned for economic recovery. Business licenses in 2012 are up 34% from 2009 levels. Commercial property values are in line with the market and will certainly attract new business as well as investors. The County is streamlining its regulatory process and is engaged in strategic planning. Lyon County is becoming a very economically predictable and business-friendly arena.
Economic growth is a free market endeavor that is, in my opinion, best left to the private sector. Economic development or the policies that direct or promote growth are, although not exclusively, delegated to the public sector.
Lyon County has and continues to improve its policies that support economic growth. The policies include public-private partnerships, grant sponsorships across a wide verity of endeavors, and a continuing administrative/financial relationship with the Northern Nevada Development Authority (NNDA). Additionally, many years ago Lyon County adopted, and the current board continues to support, a regional rather than a single-county strategy regarding economic growth. This policy is shared by surrounding counties and NNDA.
- Improvements to operation of the planning department/zoning codes
The Lyon County Land Use Master Plan was adopted in December 2010. The revised development/zoning codes are currently being developed and are due to be completed in the near future. An independent contractor has been hired for specific urgent tasks and the Office of Emergency Management has been transferred from planning to the county manager’s office. Reduced staffing and shared cross-departmental responsibilities caused by revenue shortfalls will continue to be an issue for the foreseeable future.
- Dealing with the County labor associations
The relationship between the County and the two labor associations remain very positive, and both are on the proper track. The addition of a commissioner to each negotiation team has proven to be very beneficial by allow direct response regarding the Board’s likely position on negotiated elements of the contracts. The elimination of some third-party negotiators has proven equally beneficial. The next budget cycle may see the addition of certain department heads at the negotiation table, which will provide additional or complete insight to the various departmental needs as they relate to the competing interests for reduced funding.
- Protecting the County’s public lands, water rights
Water resources and its related infrastructure are essential for economic sustainability.
Lyon County currently participates in cooperative infrastructure projects, including a multi-county water line that allows for water transfers to mitigate water shortages for a variety of reasons. It is necessary that the County continue its participation in these important projects.
Lyon County is addressing water needs in three distinct regions of the county–the Truckee, Carson, and Walker river basins–and must at all times be respectful of all water right holders, both public and private, when dealing in matters relating to water resources.
Within the scope of its responsibility, Lyon County must be proactive regarding water conservation, including water right protection among the varied users, and also participate in due diligence regarding water use applications. The County currently participates in a variety of water protection activities, including public-private water banking.
Lyon County’s position on public lands is defined clearly in Title 10 of its code, circa 1993, beginning with 10.13.01. As a Commissioner, I am obligated to follow the code.
- Accessibility of elected officials, improving communication between the County officials and residents
Accessibility to the Board or individual commissioners is excellent. Each commissioner has a published personal telephone number and email contact. Also, any resident can converse with the Board at any of its public meetings.
The County has been limited in its ability to webcast meetings as a result of an insufficient telecommunication infrastructure. While the software has been in service for some time, the bandwidth to fully utilize the system simply was not available. The County has for the past several years been improving segments of its telecommunication system. The full update is scheduled to be completed in the near future. Upon completion, the County can begin increasing its web based services and communications.
The County has made progress in transparency or communication as follows:
Strategic planning workshops are open to the public as they are no longer staff meetings but scheduled Board meetings.
Draft ordinances/revisions are sent to the Advisory Boards for review and comment before the Board or Planning Commission take action.
All budget workshops are public, and the public is encouraged to participate.
Town hall meetings are an ongoing process to improve interaction between the residents and County officials.
Budgets, contracts, draft ordinances/revisions, etc., are posted on the website.
- Any other issues you feel are of importance
Infrastructure maintenance, infrastructure improvements, and infrastructure planning are some of the most important issues facing the County today.
Road maintenance is at the top of this subset. There are few options available, and I recommend that the County and City of Fernley begin the process by exploring the possibility of a joint solution.
Completion of a comprehensive strategic plan and its subordinate components, including economic development at a policy level and water resources, is the most important issue facing the County today. The Plan, if properly developed, adopted, and followed, will provide the County with an orderly direction by which to grow and recover from the current economic cycle.