The City of Fernley State of the City was presented to Fernley Citizens and City Council on February 15, 2023 at the City Council meeting. If you missed the meeting or if you would like to view the address, please click the following link: City of Fernley State of the City 2023.
STATE OF THE CITY, FEBRUARY 15, 2023
Good evening Fernley residents, City Council, and staff. I am Neal E. McIntyre; your newly elected Mayor for the City of Fernley. This evening, I will present to you the State of the City address.
Over the last 22 years, City Council and staff have developed this city from a town with a population of 8,600 to over 23,000 residents. They have made Fernley a place that people and businesses, large and small, want to live, work, and play.
I would like to take time to thank all former Mayors and past Councilmembers in directing and moving Fernley to where it is at today. I want to also give my deepest gratitude to the City of Fernley staff, former and current, who have been working hard to execute the priorities and goals of City Council.
I strive to continue to be an ethical and transparent government. We are proud to say we are in total compliance with the State entities regulating our ethics and transparency. We had zero OML violations and ethics complaints. We had zero judgments issued against the City of Fernley. We will continue to work to be the most professional City in the State for ethics and openness.
As I take over at the helm, we will continue down the path prior Council have set before the city and make communication a priority. I believe it is very important to show our residents how we are spending their tax dollars, so they understand where we are working and what we are accomplishing.
I want to increase internal communication and teamwork in my executive branch internally. There is a new enthusiasm at City Hall. And to be frank, I want to capitalize on that by creating ‘Team Fernley.’ Right now, that’s just a framework for the department heads to share their experiences and best practices, but I think it’s going to lay the foundation for the city’s leadership future. Your department heads are an amazing team. I will continue to update all of my staff and employees at the City regularly and work with them to build our future here. Let me tell you about some of projects they are working on.
An important responsibility your City Council possess – is to review, discuss, and approve the City budget. In this process, Council decides where to allocate taxpayers money in the operation and maintenance of our City, including new initiatives. In May, Council approved a $49 million dollar budget. The $49 million budget provides for ongoing operations in the General Fund, Water Enterprise Fund, Sewer Enterprise Fund, and capital projects.
Handling the public’s money is a critical responsibility the City of Fernley takes seriously. In doing so, over the course of fiscal year 2022, the Finance Department received a Clean Audit Opinion by the City’s audit firm, with no findings, and received the Government Finance Officers Association Achievement for excellence in financial reporting.
Despite changes in the economy, the City of Fernley continues to grow.
Last year, the Building Department issued 125 Single Family Dwelling permits…… a small decrease from 2021.
The Building Department also issued 8 New Commercial Structure permits with a valuation of over $152 million dollars. The Building Department completed the review, issuance and all building inspections required for the:
• Mark IV Building A project that is now occupied by tenant Redwood Materials
• Nine buildings at Freemont Street Apartments projects and issued the Certificate of Occupancy greatly increasing the number of working wage housing availability in our City.
• We are excited to see an Events Center open in the City. The Events Center at The Meadows at Inglewood was issued a Certificate of Occupancy this year.
The Building Department continues to process and conduct tenant inspections as businesses move into these new commercial buildings and as a City, we continue to see interest from developers wanting to move forward with industrial, commercial, and housing developments.
The City’s Code Enforcement officers provide for the safety, health and welfare of citizens living and working in neighborhoods throughout the City of Fernley through Enforcement of building, zoning, housing, environmental, nuisance and other codes and ordinances.
Although we do not have full time Code Enforcement staff, your departments still work hard every day to make our community a great place to live work and play. In 2022, your Building Code Enforcement team received and investigated 450 citizen complaints, which resulted in tagging 164 vehicles, and towing 69 off our city streets.
One of the unsung heroes working in City Hall is the Engineering Department. With a staff of only seven, the Engineering Team has done some wonderful work for our City.
• The Sage Tank project was completed and completed underbudget. This water tank had a full interior and exterior recoat, this included all tank repairs, vent rehabilitation and a new HALO was installed. The tank was finished with a beautiful City of Fernley mural.
• The Green Valley Park Reconstruction project was completed. Green Valley Park got 3 new gazebos, One 28-foot Gazebo located in the large portion of the park, and the other two 12-foot square gazebos each located on each side of the dog park. There is now a walking path that runs along the perimeter of the park and a new restroom facility was installed closer to the existing playground.
• The US50A/95A Sanitary Sewer Improvements Phase 1 project was completed. This was an emergency project that was started when the existing main failed. The project replaced 140 linear feet of sewer main and steel casing that crosses the TCID canal.
• The annual pavement maintenance project was completed with a final cost $1.2 million, extending the lives of over 20-miles of our roads and multiuse pathways.
Public works is largely responsible for making our community run smoothly and is critical to creating positive civic experiences. The Fernley public works department contains 10 divisions, including:
• Water Distribution
• Water Treatment Plant
• Streets & Storm Drains
The Public Works Team is one of those departments in City Hall that is a well-oiled machine. They come to work every day and deliver amazing work sometimes we don’t see or appreciate, such as having water come out of your taps and flushing your toilet. They continue to be amazing by providing services needed within our community. Here are some of the 2022 stats for the Public Works team:
• January 1st to December 31st, Water Distribution has repaired or upgraded 89 water leaks. Big leaks and small leaks. That’s a lot of excavations, with no injuries. This division is on call 24/7 – even on the holidays. They are a good solid team, who puts their head down and work until the job is done and done right. Water Distribution wells produced over 1.4 billion gallons of water in 2022.
• The yearly Fleet Division operations delivered 811 completed work orders, despite shortages of parts and supplies. The acquisition of new vehicles has helped to reduce repairs and maintenance in the fleet.
• The Streets division replaced damaged culverts, preventing street cave-ins, several of these culverts were upsized.
• The Wastewater Division this year continued to focus efforts to cleaning the entire city’s sewer collection system while also keeping up with routine checks and maintenance of our equipment. The Division accomplished their goal of cleaning a large portion of the city’s gravity collection system totaling 7.8 miles of mainline.
• Fernley City Council set water management as a top priority in 2015 and in 2016 Council directed staff to prioritize the design for construction of a delivery structure for surface water from the TCID canal to Fernley’s water treatment plant. This project, the Surface Water Conveyance project, is underway. The Canal outtake, conveyance, and pump house construction has begun and is expected to be completed and tested by the end of spring of this year. In short, this project brings water from the canal to our water treatment plant ensuring we have water for our future.
• The Parks division continued to be plagued by vandalism over the course of year 2022, especially at the Eagles Nest Park. Staff removed the turf and installed DG and fixed the fencing at the park.
• The Fernley Cemetery crew continued to install base for the roadways and worked with plot owners to install curbing around further beautifying a place where our loved ones rest.
As your Mayor, I will move forward in completing small and large improvement projects that create a more livable and attractive community that residents will be proud of.
Collaboration is critical, for the City, especially with a limited budget. The City has developed and maintained great working partnerships over the past few years, which have resulted in very positive actions, and I will continue to build on these relationships and create new ones to further the priorities and goals of Fernley. I am developing relationships with Lyon County, Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, the School District, and the Fire District to share important information and initiatives that affect our community.
The City continues to work toward a resolution for the issue of canal lining. The Bureau of Reclamation begun the project to line the canal for approximately 3.5 miles centered on the intersection of the canal and US-95A, extending east and west. The City has taken every legal step possible to protect our water resources. The impacts to groundwater recharge are unknown at this time, however the City is monitoring this closely and will determine potential next steps as we move forward in 2023.
As Mayor, I believe communication is key. This evening, I am reaching out to the community to share how we are moving forward in hiring a city manager. We are in the midst of identifying and hiring a City Manager who shares my vision and someone who will help me get things done. I realize hiring a chief administrator is making an investment in our community and is one of the most important responsibility’s I have as Mayor, so I will approach the task methodically, one step at a time.
As we move into 2023, under my leadership, we will make changes that are more responsive to resident’s needs with an emphasis on issues that I feel is hindering the City: C-Tax, the Fernley Lands Bill, Infrastructure, the Community Center, and the Nevada Pacific Parkway project RAISE Grant.
As you know, the City of Fernley is experiencing unprecedented growth and the Fernley Lands Bill is critically needed for our future. With the lack of available land of 12+acre-plots, we are increasingly unable to provide not only economic development opportunities but more importantly, adequate workforce and affordable housing. This land bill is from the city and for the city. The bill is the result of the city continuing to grow and will support the diversification of the state economy. We believe this bill has been thoroughly vetted that captures the conservation aspect while at the same time provides a resource, land, for Fernley.
We don’t want to just talk about infrastructure projects….. I want to get them done! The infrastructure projects we will complete in 2023 are:
• The Cottonwood Lane Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Project
• The Surface Water Conveyance Project
• The Farm District Road Lift Station and Grit Chamber Removal project
• And Main Street Beautification projects.
The city of Fernley and project partners will continue moving forward with development of the Community Response & Resource Center. The City has partnered with the Fernley Community Foundation and the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows to develop the program and services that will be housed in the Community Center which provide self-sustaining long term programs and services to our community.
The City has been working on this project for over a year now and we are committed to move forward and finally start to build something. This project is expected to bring well over 150 construction jobs, from earth moving to roofing and at least 20 permanent jobs once fully constructed. I have reached out to Governor Lombardo, State Senator Titus, Senator Rosen, State Assemblyman Koenig to secure funding for the FULL construction of the project, and I will not stop until this building is fully funded and constructed.
In fact, tonight, our consultants will present a project update to council and residents. Stay tuned.
Under my leadership, Team Fernley will work closely with US Department of Transportation and our partner Mark IV Capital to execute the RAISE Grant for the Nevada Pacific Parkway extension project. The RAISE grant represents the largest single grant award in the history of the city. This project is a great example of how a public-private partnership can work and move large projects when working together.
As Mayor, I will not stop fighting for our fair share of C-Tax. Moving forward, we are looking into accurately calculating how much C-TAX is generated by Fernley. We are, also, embarking on a revenue and expense study to determine what services Fernley may want to provide that it currently does not. A good understanding of the expense required to provide certain services will be important to determine the revenue levels the City will need to sustain those services. These are two BIG steps towards addressing C-Tax inequities.
Currently, City staff is working on the budget and it will be presented to Council and the residents in April. As your Mayor, along with your Council, we will focus on stabilizing the City’s budget and it’s our mission to represent the citizens of Fernley and serve in the best interest of all citizens in the City of Fernley.
As your Mayor, leader, and Chief Executive, I will continue to lead our community and I am excited about the future of the City of Fernley. The people who live, work, and play in Fernley deserve the best from City Hall, so we’re off and running. I could not be more excited to walk down the road with the Citizens of Fernley into the future. At the end of the day, there is a lot of work ahead us and I am hopeful and excited to move forward.
Citizens of Fernley I want to thank you for voting me into this position, as your mayor of the great city of Fernley.