Scene In Passing: Capital is the straw that stirs the drink

Carson City building permits for more than $20 million in work were issued July through November of last year, just a shade under the total for the previous 12 months.

Mayor Robert Crowell divulged that Tuesday, at first saying the final six months of 2013 equaled all of fiscal 2012-13 as he gave a brief and informal talk at the Rotary Club. But later he nailed the number down for this interviewer and said he had been just a little off due to the missing month.

“Hopefully with the December totals,” he said, “we will definitely be ahead of last (fiscal) year.” Fiscal years run from July 1-June 30. During FY 2012-13, the projects outlined in city-issued building permits totaled $22.9 million. So unless last month turned into a dog, beating the entire FY 2012-13 total in the final six months of last calendar year is almost a given. The July-November average was $4 million each month.

Try finding a better bellwether signal of recovery than the dollar value of building permits. As the mayor put it in his remarks to the Rotarians, “Capital is starting to move in our community.”

Crowell also hinted at a possible major announcement in 2014, mentioning efforts at luring an international company to the capital city area. He said the unnamed business firm is looking at both Las Vegas and the east side of Carson City. Without tossing out any guarantees, Crowell sounded optimistic.

“From what I know, we have a pretty good shot,” he said.

Crowell’s remarks dovetail with what has appeared off and on in this space throughout 2013. Despite devastation in Nevada and Carson City during the misnamed Great Recession, undoubtedly named that to evoke images of the misnamed Great Depression, the nation’s recent pallid recovery is becoming less pale.

It is becoming more vivid by virtue of signals on the world and national stages, many of them gleaned by reading The Wall Street Journal or tracking other news reports on commerce and financial markets.

Headlines just this week should suffice to make the point. “Office-rental market is gaining strength,” according to one. “Investors see more gains for banks,” said another, which carried this sub-head: “Large lenders are expected to benefit from further resurgence in U.S. employment and output.”

The mayor was right. Capital is moving, both here and elsewhere. When monetary velocity picks up, fear gets tamped down. And vice versa.

John Barrette covers Carson City government and business. He can be reached at


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