James Utterback
Mineral County Board of Commissioners

My fellow citizens of Mineral County I would like county to take a moment of your time to lay out my positions on major issues facing our County.

I believe the economic situation we face here in Mineral County is our biggest issue. We have people and business leaving faster than they are starting up here. The recent construction of two new stores is a start but we need to get behind our economic development agency and give them all the support we can. It is difficult doing business with the county. I would like to streamline the process of business licenses and other processes with the various departments.   Storey County has a maximum 30 day planning period; for the most part the projects take 30 minutes to pull initial grading permits.

My priority if elected would be to look at the processes in the county government and give the department heads more authority over their budget and departments. They should not have to go to the commissioners for minor or mundane issues they can handle themselves. Right behind that would meet with the economic development office and work to get more businesses here remembering that the county does not do economic development, we create the environment in which new companies can thrive such as timely permitting, timely approvals and user friendly meetings with new companies.

I believe that Mineral County is being held hostage by the federal government. We have the ammunition depot here and currently they are our largest employer. The next biggest employer is El Capitan and the county. I would like to see us move away from the current dependence on the base because those jobs fluctuate. Also, we have 97 percent of the county as federal land here that should be open for recreational economic uses. I will oppose any attempt to close more of our land by the BLM or US Forest Service or any other government agency for wilderness.

I have been told that we (Mineral County) is short of money and we must use what we have wisely I can’t agree more, if we allow new companies to come into the county we will have revenues to grow. The local mines are starting to produce they bring great jobs with them, but mining is a boom bust cycle, so while they grow, we hope to locate diverse companies here so that we don’t suffer the bust cycle as badly as in the past.

One of the largest problems we have with the water situation in Walker Lake is the current water laws that require the users to use all their allotment or their allotment will be reduced the next year called use it or lose it laws or forfeiture law. It would seem that the capability to use water as a lake improvement would prove beneficial use.   These are state laws that need to be corrected so that in a wet year the farmer/rancher can use less and not be penalized.   There are funds to purchase willing seller water rights for the lake.

I believe that Mineral County is about to explode economically. Watch this publication in the next couple of months for some exciting news.

Thank you for your time and I would appreciate your vote.