59°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Gov. Sisolak skeptical of Storm Area 51 relief funds request

CARSON CITY — Two rural counties are hoping to tap the state’s disaster relief funds in order to recoup some of the costs associated with the Storm Area 51 events that saw thousands of people descend on small-town Nevada in September hoping to “see them aliens.”

But the requests from Nye and Lincoln counties face an uphill battle, as Gov. Steve Sisolak panned the requests, and specifically criticized Lincoln County officials for expecting the state “to bail them out,” after they approved event permits tied to the viral phenomenon.

Both counties pre-signed declarations of emergency ahead of two separate events, citing worries that the tens of thousands of people expected to show up could stretch the rural counties’ resources thin.

“I don’t know how this was an emergency when you gave an approval despite our concerns regarding this issue, and then expect the taxpayers of the state to basically bail out your county commission’s approval,” Sisolak said Tuesday during a state Board of Examiners meeting where the proposal was discussed. No vote was taken.

The entire ordeal was triggered by a social media post on Facebook that suggested the Air Force couldn’t stop a civilian invasion of the top-secret military installation that has long been rumored to house evidence of extraterrestrials in the Nevada desert 85 miles north of Las Vegas. The post received millions of “likes,” sparking concerns from the county officials about their ability to handle such an influx.

Eric Holt, emergency manager for Lincoln County, said that none of the funds spent by the county went towards the events themselves, which provided their own security, medical responders, trash and sanitation services.

The funds being requesting would cover costs associated with the county’s law enforcement and medical personnel, which includes overtime pay, food, fuel and more. In total, the county is hoping to get more than $200,000 from the state to cover those costs, Holt said after the meeting.

After the meeting, Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee said that the costs to the county would have been the same, if not more, had commissioners not approved the two event permits because they would have needed to provide police for security purposes, as well as trash and sanitation services.

Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
RJ Politics Podcast with Deval Patrick - VIDEO
2020 Presidential Candidate Deval Patrick joins hosts Rory Appleton and Steve Sebelius on the RJ Politics Podcast.
Tom Steyer on Donald Trump and the economy - Video
Tom Steyer joins the RJ Politics podcast to talk about his campaign presence in Nevada and how he plans to take Trump on when talking about the economy. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas City Council Votes On Homeless Ordinance - Video
The Las Vegas City Council on Wednesday will discuss expanding on a controversial camping and sleeping ban aimed at deterring the homeless from bivouacking on city streets to include hours when public sidewalks are being cleaned.
Biden meets with Vegas Latino community - VIDEO
Presidential candidate Joe Biden met with members of the Latino community at Rancho High School. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Henderson, other Nevada cities consent to refugee resettlement - VIDEO
Henderson will continue to welcome refugees for resettlement, according to a December letter from Mayor Debra March. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg Speaks At Black Empowerment Event - Video
Pete Buttigieg speaks at a black empowerment event to talk about his Douglass plan.
Joe Biden at the national hospitality workers union.
Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to members of the national hospitality workers union during UNITE HERE's town hall on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019 at Culinary Union Hall in Las Vegas. @bizutesfaye
Elizabeth Warren at Culinary Union
Elizabeth Warren speaks at a Culinary Union town hall in Las Vegas on Dec. 9, 2019.
Secretary of Education visits Henderson school
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited students at Pinecrest Academy in Henderson to talk about college planning on Dec. 4, 2019. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump dropped from Terry Fator’s show on Las Vegas Strip - VIDEO
Fator has edited out one prominent figure: President Donald Trump, a focal point of Fator’s regular stage show and also Christmas show over the past 3½ years. The Trump puppet, with his pop-up hairpiece, has been sidelined from both shows until further notice. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Accused murder mastermind Frank LaPena is granted a pardon - VIDEO
A onetime Las Vegas casino bell captain who spent 25 years in prison as the accused mastermind in a notorious 1974 contract murder won his last legal battle for freedom Wednesday when the state Pardons Board granted him a conditional pardon restoring all his civil rights. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Middle: Nonpartisan voters and the 2020 election
How will the growing segment of nonpartisan or independent voters — those who have not registered with either political party, or who have left partisan politics behind — vote in 2020?
THE LATEST
FBI to keep states in loop on election breaches, sources say

In the past, the FBI would alert local governments about attacks on their electoral systems without automatically sharing that information with the state.

 
Senate begins impeachment trial of Trump

The U.S. Senate opened the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump Thursday, senators standing at their desks to swear an oath of “impartial justice.”