Public Works Director, Ron Damele, reported that the Springs project fencing is being finished within the next couple of weeks unless shutdown by snow until the spring. The spring line is nearly completed with the chlorination building nearing completion and water being tested to ensure it meets drinking water standards.
Mike Sullivan, EMS Coordinator, reported that since Oct. 21, Eureka has had 22 calls for service and Crescent Valley, 11, bringing the year to date service call total to 156 and 49 respectively compared to 129 and 38 last year bringing the County-wide run total to 205, 38 above last year. Staffing remains stable although an EMT Basic has left for active service for a year.
On Nov. 4, Sullivan trained the Treasurer’s staff in use of the defibrillators and on Nov. 8 to 10, Sullivan led the intermediate to advanced transition training at the Opera House so all EMTs are ready for the transition. The mass casualty vehicle has arrived and been converted. The vehicle is capable of transporting 18 persons on backboards. Sullivan said there was an MCI within the County on 766 due to a traffic accident. Eureka County has been designated as a Heart Safe Community, the first rural frontier county so designated. Sullivan will travel to Lake Tahoe the week of December 5th to accept the award. On Nov. 21, Eureka ambulance service participated in a drill at the elementary school. EMTs are renewing their licensing in December and the service has been busy with weather-related motor vehicle accidents and weather-related medical calls. Sullivan reminded the public to carry chains and a winter survival kit. “If travelling off the main roads have a survival kit with you. Let people know where you’re going to be” and recommended people who want to know what needs to go in such a kit or to visit ‘ready.gov.’
At the Public Hearing on Community Development Block Grants, Andrea Rossman, Cultural, Tourism, & Economic Development Director reported as of last year she had no interest. On Sept. 25 of this year, she received a letter from Executive Director and CEO, Susan Hayes of Nevada Rural Counties’ RSVP program requesting sponsorship of a lifesaving program for $60,000 to grow the RSVP care program in rural Nevada. Rossman said the program deals with people who have Alzheimer’s and numerous other diseases effecting older people. Rossman explained that Hayes is also inquiring to other rural communities. Commissioner Ithurralde questioned who the necessary volunteers would be and Rossman observed the program appears geared towards a larger community with a pool of volunteers to draw from. Chairman Goicoechea observed Eureka County would be “lucky to get two in our community” and expressed concern about starting “something in our community that we have to pay for and ends up going away. That is a concern of mine.”
Jackie Berg explained that the CDBG process requires two public hearings with action taken at the second hearing. Chairman Goicoechea asked for more information and Commissioner Ithurralde wanted to “find out how this would help our community.” Goicoechea noted, “I don’t want to be paying for 20 volunteers that would be in Reno or Carson.” The second hearing will be advertised and Rossman will be bringing forward additional information on the RSVP program.
Rossman gave an update on the recent Holiday Bazaar, Nov. 15 and 16, held at the Opera House which saw 29 vendors and “lots of shoppers” with many new vendors. Rossman said, “Something fun’s coming up” with the holiday tree lighting from which will feature a horse drawn sleigh with Clydesdales pulling the sleigh in front of the senior housing in Eureka. Monroe Street to the medical clinic and Gold Street will be closed. The high school choir will sing and Santa Claus will be at the Opera House with pictures provided for children to take home within a few days thereafter. In addition, there will be a raffle for a boy’s and girl’s bike with District Attorney Ted Beutel presently doing the detailing. Cindy Beutel joked that the bikes came from the sponsors, from Santa Claus and that the District Attorney is Santa’s Helper. With
Sponsors including Mt. Wheeler Power, Sierra Nevada Supply, Core Construction, Sierra Gold, Barrick Gold, and Newmont, the $2750 donated covers the entire cost.
At the Opera House, December 25, the statewide Academic Olympics took place with 7 different teams competing from across the state.
December 20 there will be a $35 per person ‘murder mystery’ dinner at the Opera House with catering by Darlene.
Rossman noted there would be no entertainment at the Opera House during January and February due to the weather.
Rossman said the first installment of Great Basin Regional Development Association monies of $3,750 had been received as well as Mike Baughman of Intertech’s CEDS progress report.
Clerk/Treasurer Bev Conley reported Eureka County began the month of October with a $57,441,323.00 balance, received revenue of $2,568,933, saw disbursements of $5,991,454, leaving an Oct. 31 balance of $54,018,802. Chairman Goicoechea said, “It’s good we’re still in the black.”
Natural Resources Manager, Jake Tibbitts, related that on Nov. 7 he attended a biological monitoring meeting hosted by General Moly which brought in a group doing biological monitoring for the mine’s 3M plan. Tibbitts observed the project is “on a good path moving forward with that.” The week of Nov. 18, he was at the water hearings in Carson City.
Tibbitts planned to attend the Crescent Valley Firewise meeting at 4 on the 25th by teleconference and will be attending the Conservation District meeting on Dec. 4.
Tibbitts has been “reviewing a lot of items issues coming our way we’re right in the middle of” including federal legislation that have been “pushed through committees” and some which has made it out of committee. He noted movement is taking place in both houses of Congress “that we’ve had input on.” A bill Eureka County has been following the Grazing Improvement Act, which has passed out of the Senate and relates to the retirement of grazing permits, which “we’ve been against.” The Act will be on the next Commission agenda for discussion. Tibbitts said, “On the one hand it does great things,” but he cautioned that the Act is “well funded by special interest groups to force people into selling permits which erodes our tax base.” Tibbitts observed the County is “in a very tenuous period with public lands management” as the combination of wild horse and sage grouse, and access issues create a “perfect storm” as “all these things are coming to a head at this point.” Tibbitts observed that the “County has been proactive on solutions” and he intends to “double efforts to be proactive rather than reactive” in addressing multiple issues and focusing on “what’s important to us.” Tibbitts intends after the first of the year to come before th Commission with a strategic focused work plan “to not be pulled apart by issues but focus on a couple” in order “to be proactive to get things done.”
In considering paying annual membership dues to the American Lands Council in the amount of $5,000, Tibbitts suggested holding off the paying of dues until the request is vetted through the Natural Resource Advisory Council. Tibbitts noted that the ALC is a “fairly new organization headed by Ken Ivory, a state representative in Utah” with Demar Dahl of Elko in a leadership position. The goal of the ALC “is to have states and local governments have more say in the management of public lands” and is working with various western states to study and pursue the transfer of federal lands into state control. The ALC recently hosted a big conference in Park City, Utah, which brought people from all over the west. Chairman Goicoechea noted the ALC work directly applies to AB227, a bill looking at getting control of federal lands, which initiated the process. He noted that the State of Nevada is first studying “what lands we want.” The Chairman agreed he’d like NRAC to look at the question of ALC membership and advise the Commission whether “they’d like to see if we want to go a different direction.” Tibbitts said NRAC will be asking “what good has the membership done” as the organization does not appear to have “specifically addressed things for Eureka County.” With that, the Commission voted to table the ALC membership request.
A hearing on the Klondex Gold & Silver Mining Co. Fire Creek Infiltration Project Water Pollution Control Permit NEV2013102 will take place December 9th at the Crescent Valley Town Center with the comment period having been extended by NDEP to December 12. Jake Tibbitts and Dale Bugenig will attend the hearing on the County’s behalf and will provide comment in synopsis “so folks and constituents have an understanding of what the County said” based on the letter to NDEP ratified by the Commission.
Chairman Goicoechea noted the NACO lawsuit is going forward and commented that the Undersecretary and Secretary of the Interior have “stated that they are willing to allow these horses to die” on the record. Goicoechea said the DOI leadership has stated they will allow wild horses to “succumb to starvation” and recognize that if the rangeland situation becomes bad enough “they can look at mass starvation.”
Eureka County Commissioners approved:
• The minutes of the Nov. 6, 2013, Commission Meeting;
• Expenditures of $1,011,590.11 including payroll of $320,662.57;
• Co-sponsoring the 2014 Nevada Association of Counties Annual Conference with White Pine and Lincoln Counties with the conference schedule to be held in Ely, Nevada in the fall of 2014;
• Providing holiday appreciation gift cards for employees and/or volunteers
• A six-month contract renewal/extension with Clay Poplin, LCSW, LLC, for family counseling services;
• The Health Insurance Committee’s recommendation for the Commissioners to send a letter to NVHC informing/reminding them of new federal requirements for medical examiners conducting physical examinations for commercial motor vehicle drivers which will become effective May 21, 2014 and which requirements NVHC must meet to remain in compliance with their contract with Eureka County;
• Accepting the Health Insurance Committee’s recommendation regarding a non-performance penalty of $5400 for the third quarter of 2013 against Nevada Health Centers, Inc., following the Committee’s consideration of further information provided by NVHC for the quarterly performance audit;
• A request from the Health Insurance Committee to advertise for and appoint an alternate member to be assigned to the committee from Crescent Valley;
• A proposal from Abigail C. Johnson, Nuclear Waste Consultant, for County oversight services relating to the Yucca Mountain Project for time and materials, not to exceed $244,000.00 ($122,000.00 in 2014 and $122,000.00 in 2015) to be funded by the Department of Energy direct payment grant to Eureka County as an Affected Unit of Local Government;
• Signing a certificate of expenditures for Federal Fiscal Year 2013 relating to the direct payment grant from the Department of Energy for the Yucca Mountain Project;
• Authorizing staff to pre-qualify contractors pursuant to NRS 338 for the Courthouse HVAC Remodel Project;
• Ratifying a comment letter sent to Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Mining Regulation & Reclamation, regarding Klondex Gold & Silver Mining Co. Fire Creek Infiltration Project Water Pollution Control Permit NEV2013102;
• Sending follow-up and thank you letters to Congressional delegation and staff and federal agency personnel that met with County representatives in Washington, DC, the first week of October;
• Sending $25 holiday gift cards to those who have volunteered in 2013 for the County, excluding County staff and elected officials.