RAY FIERRO – LYON COUNTY COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT 3
Lyon County Commissioners must live in their district, but are voted on countywide.
There are three Republican candidates running for the District III commission seat – Incumbent Ray Fierro and Ken Gray responded to the interview. Candidate Charles Shirley did not respond.
With only Republican candidates filed for this race, the winner of this seat will be determined in the Primary. The winner’s name will be placed on the General Election ballot unopposed.
1. Please provide a short personal resume, including how long you have lived in Lyon County.
Lyon County Resident for 23-years
Mar 2014 – Present:
♦ The Pony Espresso LLC
Nov 2010 – Present:
♦ County Commissioner – Lyon County
Nov 1987 – Sep 2011:
♦ U.S. Air Force and Nevada Air National Guard – Honorably Discharged
Nov 2003 – Nov 2010:
♦ Planning Commissioner – Lyon County
Feb 2008 – Jul 2010:
♦ Financial Consultant – Wells Fargo Investments
Sep 2005 – Jan 2008:
♦ Financial Advisor – Edward Jones Investments
Dec 2003 – Aug 2005:
♦ Engineering Technician III – Nevada Dept. of Transportation
Sep 2002 – Nov 2003:
♦ Dayton Regional Advisory Council (DRAC)
Dec 2002 – Nov 2005:
♦ Lyon County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue
University of Nevada – Reno, CPO – Certified Public Official 2014
University of Nevada – Reno, BGS – General Studies, 2002
Community College of the Air Force, AAS – Human Resource Management, 2006
Western Nevada College, AA – Mathematics, 1999
Western Nevada College, AA – General, 1998
Community College of the Air Force, AAS – Mechanical & Electrical Technology, 1998
2. Explain why you are better qualified to serve in this position than your opponent(s).
I have worked in the Private Sector, Public Sector and I am currently an owner of a business located in Lyon County that has provided employment for five college-bound individuals, two youth works program participants and three internships. As for my opponents they have mostly worked in the Public Sector. I am able to relate to how governmental decisions impact businesses and the amount of hard work and dedication that is needed to run any business. Whereas, my opponents have basically only known what it’s like to receive a paycheck from the government.
3. With the completion of U.S. Parkway from I-80 and the Reno-Tahoe Industrial Park to US 50 in Silver Springs now in the foreseeable future, it is predicted this will have a huge impact on residential development in Lyon County. To try and meet these future challenges, the County has been working on updating their development codes (Title 15) for what now seems an eternity. What would be your response to those asking what is/why the delay in adopting these updated development guidelines?
The Land Use & Development Code, known as Title 15, will replace Titles 10, 11, 12 and 13 if it is passed by the board. It is the tool needed to implement the Master Plan that the communities in Lyon County worked on and that was passed in 2010. The reason for the delay in passing this new code is this current board is dedicated to vetting this document. As the chairman of the board for 2015, I made sure that we examined every section of the proposed code during many public meeting and workshops held in and outside of the county seat. It would be inaccurate for anyone to state that Title 15 is like The Affordable Care Act… “Pass it and then we will see what’s in it.” The current board has even gone as far as removing chapters of the proposed code to receive more public feedback and to meet with stakeholders. This document is pivotal to the future economic development and growth of Lyon County and should not be taken lightly.
4. With an expected influx of new residents to Lyon County, particularly in the Silver Springs area, what do you see as the major challenges to the County in meeting this population growth?
This is an excellent question. State Route 439 – The USA Parkway will connect Interstate 80 to Highway 50 by the end of 2017 and open the door to the world’s largest industrial center for Lyon County. One of the biggest challenges that will be faced by the county is providing services, such as law enforcement and road maintenance to the area as it expands. The revenues needed to pay for said services will be lagging behind. We need to ensure that a mixture of industrial and commercial development come into the area as the residential development grows. Revenues generated from residential properties are below the costs associated with the services. Whereas, revenues from industrial and commercial are above the costs connected with them. Currently, I am the only commissioner and/or candidate that has the experience of being on a Planning Commission. This knowledge is valuable as the developers start flocking into our county.
5. Approximately 85-percent of Lyon County is comprised of public lands. Do you have any issues with federal ownership and policies related to these lands? Explain.
I think that the bulk of the public lands, mainly the acres under the management of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) under the Department of the Interior should transfer to the State of Nevada and/or Lyon County. Often, federal agencies go to extreme measures to close off areas for one reason or another, mostly environmental reasons, when history shows us that the lands were managed far better when ranchers were allowed more grazing allotments.
6. What is your view in regards to the City of Fernley’s failed bid to receive what they term as “their fair share” of SCCRT funding from the County?
I respect the manner in which the City of Fernley went through to have their concern about the way the Consolidated Tax (C-tax) is distributed. They first went to the State Legislature and then to the Nevada Supreme Court. While they were working on this issue, I was on the Regional Transportation Commission and noticed that the roads in the industrial area of Fernley were failing. Instead of waiting for the outcome on the C-tax dispute I suggested that the county place on the budget a transfer of funds to the City of Fernley for road maintenance for economic development. Remember as stated above, Industrial and Commercial development pay for themselves and then some. The two municipalities are in our county and they are definitely part of our county. It benefits the county as a whole when ALL our communities are doing well, including Fernley and Yerington.
7. Lyon County’s revenues versus budgetary needs continue to be a challenge. What would you propose to improve the County’s obviously weak tax base?
I have already mentioned a few times above how bringing in Industrial and Commercial development will help Lyon County’s tax base. In addition to that we need to be cognizant of the types and number of residential development that desire to come to Lyon County. Once developed these areas will remain in our community for around 50+ years. So the question of what level of quality is desired and feasible for the area. This has a huge impact on our economic development and growth. Eventually, we need to be more self-sufficient as a county and not so much a county of bedroom communities.
8. Lyon County could be facing some major mining activities in the coming years, particularly in the southern portion of the county. There has been considerable controversy in regards to mining operations in the Comstock area, primarily because of its location to residential properties. What is your position in regards to mining exploration and activities?
I believe that a patented mining claim is one for which the Federal Government has passed its title to the claimant, making it private land. And an unpatented mining claim is a particular parcel of Federal land, valuable for a specific mineral deposit or deposits. It is a parcel for which an individual has asserted a right of possession. The right is restricted to the extraction and development of a mineral deposit. The rights granted by a mining claim are valid against a challenge by the United States and other claimants only after the discovery of a valuable mineral deposit. Generally there are no restrictions on the use of the land unless they are located within a subdivision or city or county zoning plan that imposes restrictions on all property within the defined area.
9. What do you view the role as of the Lyon County Land Use Master Plan?
The roll of the Master Plan is a comprehensive, long-term general plan for the physical development of the county. The Master Plan looks at how current development and possible future development will impact the county and its citizens. The Master Plan is able to be amended, and at times this is necessary to meet new market conditions or changed desires in the communities.
10. If there some issue you want to comment on that is not noted above, here is your opportunity:
Please note if any candidate mentions that the commissioners voted in their own salary increases, this is not accurate. The State Legislature determines the salaries for all elected county officials; see Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 245. The passing of SB482 allowed for salary increases, the last time salaries were increased was nine years ago in 2007.Also, please be advised that during the most recent legislative session the passing of SB499 created a situation for a winner-take-all primary. It’s important to show up to vote at the primary if you want a say in who becomes your commissioner. Early voting starts May 28th and I would appreciate your vote for FIERRO – District 3 Commissioner.
EDITOR: This is one in a series of online interviews with Republican candidates. All Republican candidates with Primary races were contacted – US Senate, US Congress, State Senate, State Assembly, Carson City Mayor and Lyon County Commissioner. The responses are posted as the candidates presented them to me – no editing. These interviews will be posted in no particular order and, obviously, all races are not of interest in everyone’s particular district; however, NewsDesk readership (www.ndbynd.com) is spread throughout the state so all responses will be posted. You are welcome to repost any of the interviews as long as proper credit is given to NewsDesk.
Primary election day is Tuesday, June 14, 2016. If the candidates in a particular Primary all belong to the same party, the winner will be determined in the Primary and go to the General Election ballot unopposed.
Dates to remember:
- May 14 – Last day to register to vote by mail
- May 24 – Last day to register to vote in the Primary
- May 28-June 19 – Early voting
- June 14 – Primary Election