The Tesla Gigafactory east of Reno is spawning a housing boom in the small community of Dayton, Nevada. Developers plan to build thousands of homes along the Carson River. But the area is constantly flooding.
A dump truck drops a pile of sand where Dayton resident Ray Tolgeson has a shovel in one hand and a bag in the other. He's putting together sandbags to protect his home for the next round of storms.
“Bring your own thing, ain’t nobody gonna do it for you,” says Tolgeson.
It’s a constant battle. Three floods since January in three spots. Just down the road, Lyon County Manager Jeff Page is sitting in his truck, looking at a puddle, which an hour earlier was a torrent.
“I have been in this very spot in 86, 97, 2005 and now 2017, coming from the same drainages causing the same problems,” he says.
This year’s floods caused $5 to $8 million of damage. He says they fix roads, only to watch them wash away into the Carson River.
“It is hard, it is a challenge, do you not fix something and people can't get to their property or do you make the necessary repairs so they can get in and out?” says Page.
So to fix the problems once and for all Page has proposed creating a flood control district and imposing a tax to pay for it.
“I have a very conservative board of commissioners in a very conservative county. Nobody likes taxes,” says Page.
Right now engineers are figuring out the cost of infrastructure for a 30-mile stretch from one county line to the next. That cost will determine the tax.
Back at the sand pile, Tolgeson seems doubtful about a new tax.
“I am not going to just say 'yeah' for anything because I’m not for taxes," says Tolgeson.
But he quickly softens his attitude about taxes with each shovel of sand.
“The more I shovel, the more I think, you might be right," he says. "We would definitely rather have a tax than a flood. When you are here living in it, definitely.”