Mike Rebaleati, County Budget Officer stated, “In light of the most recent information from the Department of Taxation on what the County’s really going to be receiving for Net Proceeds of Minerals for this year and with the fact that there’s still the possibility of a state-wide credit for net proceeds of $15 million that we don’t know if we’re going to be affected by that or not, which we probably will because we’ve always been up on the high end of the recipient of that. So there’s a lot of unknowns. I want to recommend to the Board that we institute an indefinite hiring freeze. We have to do this on the 19th, and that we have no COLAs for Fiscal Year 2015. That would be my recommendation.”
Chairman Goicoechea reported that Holsinger Law of Colorado is pursuing a suit against the BLM for the National Technical Team Report (NTT) and the Conservation Objectives Team Report which is being referenced across the West in EIS’s for sage grouse management. Under the Data Quality Act, there appear to be flaws in the reports and the suit is gaining momentum. The suit was originally brought forward with oil and natural gas, the energy industry, behind it but since the livestock industry is looking at it from a national level and many Western counties are taking a look at it, Eureka County is the first county contacted in Nevada to determine the County’s interest in being part of the lawsuit. Chairman Goicoechea is in personal contact with the lawyer and would like the County to help draft the complaint to address aspects in the case presentation applicable ‘west-wide’, rather than signing on at this point and proposed contributing monetarily and with data information. If the draft looks good in the Fall, the County can either sign on and contribute more as needed to get the suit going. “If this sage grouse goes the wrong way, this chart doesn’t even start to show what we’re going to see.” The Chairman said many counties in Colorado have contributed up to $25,000 and said, “I don’t feel we need to do that right now. I’d like to see what it looked like first. But, obviously, these things cost money as we know. I think this is one of those areas, if we can’t afford to spend a little money on it we’re going to shoot ourselves in the foot and he’s very interested in RS2477 road issues and how this all plays into this with travel management issues as well.”
The Commission approved contributing $5,000 to Holsinger Law to work on the draft complaint filed regarding the Greater Sage-Grouse, the Data Quality Act, and the Bureau of Land Management and will not sign on to the complaint without approving the complaint.
Millie Oram reported that all is well at the Eureka Senior Center besides the weather and noted the Eureka Center served 1,056 meals, 48 per day average, while the Crescent Valley Senior Center is also doing well with a total of 727 meals served in April with an average meal count of 33 per day. Together the Centers deposited $10,424.75.
In discussing updating the maps for cemeteries within Eureka County to update the 1999 map, Mike Rebaleati noted a lot of the markers that were wood have deteriorated. “We know they’re there but we have no idea who” in the City and County cemeteries. “It’s not bad. There have been several projects and studies have been done people left in our office that have been invaluable as far as knowing what a lot of those were because they did them 20 years ago when the markers were still there.”
Commissioner Sharkozy asked how many people and how much time and money would be involved.
“I guess we’ll get together and talk to Mike [Mears] and then see where we’re at and what we can do because I don’t know if we know that answer,” said Rebaleati.
The Chairman suggested for the County and City the County would have a role but that the Masons, Odd Fellows and Catholic Cemeteries could give an idea. The County has 8 cemetery maps. The issue will be on the next agenda with more details. “I think the majority of this can be done in-house so it shouldn’t be that expensive,” Rebaleati said. The issue was tabled until the 19th of June.
Raymond Hodson, Road Superintendent, reported a “pretty good month. We kept 4 blades pretty well busy. We finished up 101 from Milton Thompson’s to the County line; that blade’s moved to Spring Valley. We did Mustang past Chad’s to the Cottonwood Ranch; been over Newark Summit; Diamond Canyon, Windfall Canyon from Perdiz over the top. We checked the road to Prospect Peak. We just rolled some rocks out of the road there: there’s not a lot you can do with that. We’ve been over Union Pass; finished up the Roberts Creek Road; done the cut-off road between Roberts and Atlas; Henderson Pass, Bailey Pass. We’re about halfway done with the east Antelope Road. Finished up 3 Bars, Ferguson, Santa Fe. We did get up to the Mineral Hill Cemetery. We try to do that whether anybody goes up there or not at Memorial. We did get up there yesterday. That’s done. We did fix a culvert at the Pine Valley Cemetery. There was a little accident there and he tried to drive his truck up that 4 inch culvert.”
Hodson said, “We spent a couple of days at the P.A.’s house and fixed that back hill. It’s been sloughing off over the last few years, put some gravel back there. We’ve been spraying weeds when weather permitting” and spent a couple of days sweeping approaches in Diamond Valley, on Third Street and Sharrow Circle. Hodson said that on the North End there’s been a blade in Grass Valley and have to finish down to the County line and have done Palisade up to the Cemetery. There’s a blade working in Barth and the Road Crew has done Frenchie Flats, Stanford Canyon and Safford Canyon and cleaned and fixed several cattle guards out by Frenchie Flats. “Those are all fixed and the Tomeras are happy now.” On one May Clean Up day in Crescent Valley two high-side end dumps and two roll-ups were filled and the Crew didn’t finish and were there all day Saturday at the transfer yard and filled roll-offs. In addition, the Road Department and Shop attended the annual red card training. “We have a very long-time employee that has turned in his letter for retirement” and his last day will be Thursday, May 15th.
In asking for approval of on parcel map for the Eureka County School District and Eureka County for a merger and re-subdivision pursuant to NRS 278.4925, Public Works Director, Ron Damele explained, “There’s a couple of reasons for this. One reason is to support the new gymnasium, the County needed to provide a little bit of ground for the School District’s storm water retention basin which is on the southwest corner of the Parcel 2, which is also known as the ‘pool parcel,’ which we found out we do own the pool not the School District.”
“That’s good to know,” said the Chairman. “Send the heating bill the other direction.”
“The School District did at their last meeting quick claim that Parcel 4 to the County and that allows us legal access around the back side of the high school which we didn’t have before so we are in good shape there; and there is also a little bit of a property line adjustment between the folks that reside above the pool, between them and the school district.” Damele said, “Now, we have legal access and right of way for Vandal Way and Matthew’s Street and all of the school’s infrastructure to support their gymnasium is going to be entirely on their property, and that’s a good thing.” The Commissioners waived the application fee of $440 for the parcel map as the changes also largely benefit the County.
Michael Bennett of Lumos & Associates reported on the Robins Street Improvements & Utility Upgrades Project. The contract was awarded and a Notice to Proceed has been issued to Legacy Construction. The week ahead’s schedule entails milling phase 1, starting installation of the fire loop on Railroad which will give fire service to the gym upon occupancy as well as starting the sewer and water on Robins and Adams and fiber will begin getting run between county facilities as well.
Damele noted that all of the sprinkler lines in the park in Crescent Valley are approximately 25 years old and are 10 gauge PVC which is leaking some 4 feet deep in the ground “which is way too deep for sprinkler lines.” Damele said, “We are under the guns to get this repaired and what we’re going to do is a partnership with a landscape contractor and county forces to put a new sprinkler system in the park in Crescent Valley. It’s going to be a big bite but we have to do that unless we just want to let it go.”
The Chairman asked if the footprint will be reduced “because we’re using a lot of water there.”
Damele said he believes the high water usage is due to the leaks and the water usage will be potentially shrunk by half. “We’re going to see a big savings there.” The existing system will be left where it is when the new sprinkler system is new in. “We’re going to get moving on that quickly or we’ll lose what we have.”
Greg Lovato of NDEP, and Tom Dunkelman and Sarah Cafasso of the EPA gave an update to the Commissioners on NDEP and the EPA’s arsenic and lead remediation activities in Eureka. Lovato said, “Last time we came we talked about the Engineering Evaluation Cost Analysis Study that would be conducted this year and we wanted to come back and describe to you the Community Involvements requirements that EPAs required to do and get some input before we set those plans in motion as to how that’s going to be structured, what the schedule’s going to look like.”
Dunkelman gave an update on planned fieldwork for this year, which is similar to the work done last year on 18 properties that had lead in the soil above 3,000 ppm and arsenic above 600 ppm. The EPA expects to do 20 more properties this season; started last week and will be in Eureka through early July with the top foot of soil being excavated and replaced with clean backfill and landscape restoration. Last year soil excavated went into temporary storage at the north end of Eureka and wintered well. “This year that location was closed” and they are using a different storage area at the north end of town behind the sheriff’s house. “Rather than running the trucks up through the neighborhoods, we’re going to have them come in from the north so there will be less truck traffic in town. That should help.” Dunkelman noted soil sampling is continuing to be offered to anyone who hasn’t had their property sampled. “The more properties that we can sample, it helps us to write this EECA document in a more thorough manner, so we’re continuing to offer soil sampling to anybody who wants it.” An engineering firm out of Reno has been hired to find a solution to where to put the contaminated soil.
Cafasso explained that the Community Involvement Plan includes the need for getting County and public in-put on a draft plan with the goal being to obtain input where it will help guide towards an optimal solution. Issues needing input include the consideration of long-term land use, limiting exposure in the community, aesthetic concerns associated with proposals, coordinating with Public Works on work that needs to happen; and getting input from the Commissioners on issues they feel should be addressed.
Cafasso said, “The point of this Community Involvement/Community Relations Plan is so there’s a clear understanding of what’s going on throughout the whole process: the community knows what we’re doing; why we’re doing it and how we’re doing it. It usually involves basic things such as a community profile to talk about the site history; why we’re doing it, why we’re here and then it will talk about the ways we’re going to communicate with the residents of Eureka either through fact sheets, perhaps public forums, attending commissioner meetings.” Cafasso said, “The Plain Talk newsletter is something we’ve already used.” She said, “It’s not an extremely long document and it’s a living document” that can be updated “as the community sees fit.” Cafasso described it is a “clear road-map for how we communicate so everyone knows what’s going on and it’s very transparent.” Cafasso said it’s being drafted for presentation at a July commission meeting. After the final draft is produced, public comment will be sought as well.
“It’s a road map throughout the clean up process” which will include a timetable which can schedule in meetings to be attended. “It will say in the plan when the EECA will be available for public comment” which will be 30 days with notice of when the 30 day period will commence. “It’s an open document” that “can easily be changed and moved around.”
The District Attorney noted that the Board is dealing with public land issues throughout the summer and asked for coordination of the onset of the 30-day period so that as the Chairman said, “We’re not talking dirt and feathers at the same time.”
Cafasso said accommodations can be made in the dates associated with the public comment period.
$1.5 million in funding for clean up has been received for this year and as many homes as possible will be done with those monies.
A quarterly report on blood test from Nevada Health Center was received by NDEP/EPA. No tests were performed from January to March 31st. “From NDEP and EPAs perspective, we recognize completely it’s an individual choice for families and individuals whether to decide whether or not to take advantage of the opportunity; but we have seen evidence of lead exposure, as the health officer stated at the first meeting back in July of 2012; really, any exposure is not something we recommend” and so the NDEP/EPA team reinforced the recommendation that Eurekans take advantage of the blood testing opportunity. Currently, NDEP gets data on an individual’s age, town and blood level and doesn’t get any other personal information on those tested.
“I personally want to know do they live somewhere else than in this town,” Goicoechea said.
“The families who had blood testing contacted us,” Dunkelman said. “In the previous quarter there were 5 children from Eureka tested. Four lived at one house and we’re getting ready to clean up their property next week. One child lived at a property that we’ve already cleaned up and the good news there is that that one child had a high blood level but as soon as we cleaned up his property his blood level started dropping up dramatically. So, that’s good news. It’s showing what we’re doing is helping.”
The D.A. said, “Who is it on the health centers side that provides that document?” The D.A. noted that the data coming from NHC should be reported to the County health officer first and then to NDEP/EPA. “Anonymous information is not coming to this board first” as it should be and as specified in the contract between the County and NHC. The contract with NDEP and the health center is through June 2015.
NDEP and the EPA were asked to consider what percentage of the current contaminated stock pile may be in the 100 year flood plain with the concern raised that the stockpile of contaminated soil is potentially upstream of the alluvial aquifer that provides water to the town. County hydrologist, Dale Bugenig was concerned that any flooding event would raise the potential of soil going downstream and asked whether precautions were taken to make sure the soil is not deposited in a place that will contribute to the problem.
The NDEP/EPA representatives related that water doesn’t leach out the contamination and poses no threat to the water supply based on their tests as lead is not mobile in ground-water unless you have a change in acid source.
Regarding EPA’s request for access to select County properties to conduct soil sampling and characterization, the EPA/NDEP is focused on properties where there could be exposure to children such as ballparks and playgrounds and vacant parcels that are surrounded by other residential properties where children tend to play. The County Commissioners approved releasing data to the EPA on real property sampled by Eureka County for levels of lead and arsenic in the soil.
“We’re not trying to play a shell game or hide or anything else, but I want to know what and where you’re going to be and I want very pin-pointed access agreements and not necessarily a blanket; and so I want to go through these to know exactly why and what,” Goicoechea said.
Lovato said, “Access agreements are often the province of attorneys” and “it could go smooth or not.”
“On the 19th, let’s be realistic, let’s look at those properties and let’s have an open and candid conversation about those additional properties. Those we have tested, I think the County and staff have felt those are important areas of exposure and if there are others out there I think we have to have a very open and candid conversation of why you guys feel those are important and maybe we overlooked something or maybe they’re not that important and then let’s go from there and then we can go to this access agreement moving forward,” said the Chairman.
The issue was tabled until the 19th Commission meeting and at that time the revised list of County properties will be reviewed.
The Lead Handbook, the guideline the EPA and NDEP follows is available on the EPA website.
• Expenditures of $865,710.96 including payroll of $416,325.39; and Yucca Mountain expenditures of $2,579.95;
• A Human Resources Service Agreement with Pooling Resources, Inc. at a cost not to exceed $34,000.00, for a one-year pilot program for Fiscal Year 2014-2015;
• Purchasing two sets of Nevada Sesquicentennial Medallions in honor of Nevada’s 150th year of Statehood, to be displayed at the Sentinel Museum and the County Courthouse at a cost not to exceed $1,000;
• Proposing an amendment to Eureka County Code, Title 11, Chapter 60, Public Guardian & Public Administrator Office, to change designation from the Recorder/Auditor to the Clerk/Treasurer; and set a public hearing for June 20th at 1:00 p.m.;
• A water service application from Conley Land & Livestock for a new water service located at APNS 007-470-03 and 007-470-04;
• A request from Bill Bishell of Trails West, Inc., to install three historical markers on Eureka County road rights-of-way, to be located in the following areas: (a) Diamond Springs historical station; (b) Sulfur Springs station; and (c) Roberts Creek Ranch;
• A termination letter effective June 30, 2014, for dental coverage with Humana;
• Denying a quote received from Nevada Health Centers to provide a community health screening on June 26, 2014, for a cost of $71 per participant;
• Signing the St. Mary’s Health Plan Large Group Renewal Election Form with an effective date of July 1, 2014;
• Signing the Guardian Application for Group Insurance with an effective date of July 1, 2014;
• A contract with Jon A. Wahrenbrock to serve as investment consultant to Eureka County for a one-year period beginning May 6, 2014, and ending May 6, 2015.