Outgoing commissioner: ‘It’s been a good ride’
Outgoing Churchill County Commissioner Pete Olsen said he is humbled to have had the opportunity to serve the community for the past 12 years, eight of them as commission chairman, saying it has been “a good ride,” but emphasized that he did not do anything by himself.
At his last commissioners meeting on Dec. 21, he praised county employees as hardworking and dedicated public servants. “They always answer the call and take time to work for the community.”
Olsen cites two better examples of this than the 2017 flood mitigation efforts and the response to COVID over the past three years.
“During the big dig of 2017, there was no scramble across all the moving parts and agencies involved to make sure our community didn’t flood,” he said.
Numerous federal, state, county and city agencies and officials, side by side with farmers and private citizens, worked to create the Big Dig, a 17-mile-long trench through the desert to channel floodwater around the city of Fallon and populated areas. of the district.
Olsen credits the county’s COVID response efforts, again with multiple local officials and agencies coming together in the unfamiliar atmosphere, to provide the best services available to keep the community safe and healthy. Churchill County’s efforts were far ahead of most in the state to the point that they were able to offer testing and vaccinations to adjacent rural counties.
Olsen said several achievements from Churchill County over the past ten years make it a better place for its citizens:
Local efforts to clean up the Carson River and build the levee in early 2017, followed by Big Dig efforts that spring, combined to provide a permanent solution to the threat of Carson River flooding. As a result, federal flood maps are being reworked to remove the need for expensive flood insurance for many residents and businesses in the City of Fallon and Churchill County.
The William N. Pennington Living Center was opened to greatly enhance the services offered to local seniors and provide a place for generations to come together.
The new law enforcement center and jail opened in 2017 with a better, safer facility for both staff and inmates, along with more capacity to accommodate the growing community. The new facility is ADA compliant and offers better visibility and safety measures for all who use it.
Thanks to the work of CC Communications, fiber optic cable is available to 90% of the community, something no other rural county in the country can boast.
The county’s response to the COVID pandemic was difficult because of all the unknowns, yet county and city staff went with their “gut feeling” to provide testing and vaccination opportunities to protect the community, especially the elderly population, by stay away from more serious actions. (like policing public gatherings).
Creation of Rafter 3C Arena to provide a dual purpose facility for emergency operations and economic development. As this facility attracts events here, new developments in the form of hotels and restaurants are expected to follow.
The newly created Nevada Health District consolidated public health offerings in several rural counties and the city of Fallon at the local level thereby providing better health services.
The county worked with our federal congressional delegation to pass the National Defense Authorization Act to provide expanded training opportunities for NAS Fallon while providing public access to much of the federal land in the county. As part of that legislation, Churchill County becomes eligible for recreation funding as part of the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act.
Olsen said he is excited about the new district courthouse being designed and built over the next few years. He said there is a great need for a new court for a number of reasons.
“The current courthouse has small jury boxes and it’s hard to hear people in the courtroom itself because of its poor design,” he said. The waiting area is so narrow that victims and perpetrators and their families are only a few meters apart as they wait to go into the courtroom.
Add in new demands on the court system over the past several decades, and the fact that it’s not ADA compliant and the need for a new structure is clear, Olsen said.
The new courthouse will centralize security for both the District Court and the Justice Court, reducing costs.
Olsen said he’s also looking forward to seeing the new fire trucks when they arrive, hopefully later this year. These new trucks replace nearly 30-year-old vehicles that have outlived their useful lives and have been expertly maintained and repaired by the volunteer fire department to keep them in service to this community.
What is expected next?
Olsen and he and his wife Tami look forward to spending time with their many grandchildren in the new year. A trip to Europe is also planned for 2023 and it will continue to operate as one of several local dairy farms in the county.
Anne McMillin is the county’s public information officer.