Andrea Rossman, Cultural, Tourism, & Economic Development Director, reported on December 1st she attended the Great Basin Regional Development Authority meeting by phone conference. Rossman thanked Public Works, the Road Crew, and the Sheriff’s Department and “numerous, numerous people” for the success of the Christmas Tree lighting. She also thanked Patty Peet for all the Christmas decorations. Latoya Cantrell has been hired for the combined casual position for the Opera House and Sentinel Museum after Rossman interviewed 10 people.
Rossman noted the Economic Development Program Board met on the 18th and asked Rossman to compose a letter to the Commissioners expressing the ECEDP Board’s thoughts.
Rossman wrote and presented a letter to the Commissioners which said, “The Eureka County Economic Development Board would like to submit a letter of interest in regards to retaining the $1.2 million that was recently returned to the County’s General Fund from the Community Development Corporation (CDC).”
The letter stated, “The ECEDP Board feels the funds should be used for the purpose of encouraging growth of existing industries and businesses while giving all proper assistance to any new firms or existing businesses or individuals considering relocating in the Eureka County area, and, in general, to promote the welfare of all area citizens, following always the policies intended to accomplish the greatest good for the greatest number (ECEDP By-Laws; Article II, Purpose).”
“The ECEDP Board is in the process of doing their due diligence. As the information is gathered, and a clear and concise course can be laid out, the Board will approach the Commission with their recommendations.”
Mike Sullivan, EMS Coordinator reported that since Nov. 21, Eureka has had 19 calls for service and 1 in Crescent Valley bringing Eureka to 135 and 51 in Crescent Valley for the year, “about 34 overall from last year.” Sullivan noted the call rate went up when the weather “went bad.” He said volunteer staffing remains “relatively stable” with 15 total volunteers in Eureka and 5 in Crescent Valley. Several people have been going out on medical leave which is going to be a “critical problem for us I think this winter.” Monday, Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. Continuing Education will occur in both Eureka and Crescent Valley to be linked by tele-link.
Sullivan related that on Nov. 26, Eureka Ambulance responded to a serious one-vehicle accident on Pancake Summit. An occupant unseat-belted was ejected and severely injured; while two occupants wearing seat-belts sustained minor injuries. December 1st, Eureka and White Pine County Ambulances responded to an accident at White Pine County MM19. The occupant, wearing her seat belt, sustained minor injuries after her car rolled 100 yards off the road and came to rest on its roof. December 5th, Eureka Ambulance was called for patients injured in a fight. One combative patient was refused by Summit Air Ambulance and transported by ground to NNRH. December 11th, Eureka Ambulance was called to the JD Man Camp for a patient injured on a drill rig and transported him to meet Summit Air in Carlin. With very slick roads on September 18th, Eureka Ambulance responded to a roll-over on US50. All occupants wearing their seat belts were not injured and refused transport.
“What this report shows me,” said Commissioner Ithurralde, “is that ‘make sure you wear your seat belts.’ Proven right here.”
Sullivan agreed, “Thank you, Sir. It really has been obvious this last month. We’ve had some people really severely injured just by being ejected.” Sullivan thanked Ithurralde for his help over the last many years and wished him good luck in his retirement.
Public Works Director, Ron Damele, reported the plans for the Courthouse HVAC have been completed and Building Control Systems will come on Jan. 20 to report to the Board and answer questions and provide a cost estimate. Damele said based on the plans and budget, “You’ll see on the 20th, this project will have to go through the budget process again.” Damele said there will be an entry-level firefighter class on Saturday the 10th, 17th and 24th in Crescent Valley. “Any volunteers that want to attend that we would encourage them to do so.” Damele noted the class is being taught by Carlin Fire. “They do a good job for us.” Damele said the Airport Lighting Project has been completed and while the bid amount for the project was $168,350, the final accounting was just under that at $166,400. “We have all the lights dialed in. The real lights only work on high intensity. Everything else seems to be in order.”
Damele reported on the NDF Wildland Fire Protection Program annual meeting held in Carson City on Dec. 10 which he said was not particularly well-attended by the rural departments. “I do not know why,” Damele said. “What came out of the meeting was this year wasn’t a good test for the program because it wasn’t really a good fire year.” Damele said, “The other notable item that came from the meeting is NDF is committed to continuing the dialogue with the BLM regarding specific agreements with members of the Wildfire Protection Plan; and what that means, not only do we have an agreement with the State of Nevada for the Wildfire Protection Plan we also have an agreement with two Districts of the BLM and NDF thinks that’s not necessary and they’re working on that.”
Chairman Goicoechea said, “I was encouraged to see White Pine County was at the meeting. I’ll be honest, I was very disappointed in the attendance and I was disappointed they didn’t do a better job of selling that program to White Pine County. That was the place. We had a room full of County to participate to sell that program to White Pine County and they quite honestly failed miserably.”
EUREKA BROADBAND CAPABILITY EXPANDS WHILE COST REDUCES
County Assessor Mike Mears related that the broadband contracts have been renegotiated and said, “We’re working with Network Services for our Eureka connection” and are increasing band-width for a reduced cost by utilizing AT&T fiber already in existence open to government entities, moving to a 250MB pipe from a 58MB connection which will give “us a lot of capacity for roughly half of what we’re paying now.” Mears said the cost will drop from $7600 a month to $2650 a month. Nothing is changing in Crescent Valley because the bandwidth is not available there.
RETIREMENT PARTY FOR COMMISSIONER ITHURRALDE
The Commission took a break at 11:45 to throw a surprise retirement party for Commissioner Ithurralde complete with presents and a cake. Jackie Berg told Commissioner Ithurralde, “We all love you. We appreciate you,” as she presented him with the cake and a card.
During the break while everyone enjoyed cake, Commissioner Ithurralde noted the Commission Chamber was the first in Nevada to say, ‘In God We Trust.’
Commissioner Ithurralde thanked everyone for the “opportunity to work with you folks for many years” and thanked all the employees. “Eureka County’s been very good to me and my family” during his 39 years of service. “I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Ithurralde said. In return he received a round of applause. In addition, he thanked Chairman Goicoechea for letting him chair the final commission meeting of his career. Leroy Etchegaray will be taking Ithurralde’s seat in January.
UPDATE ON WATER MONITORING AND WATER RESOURCE ISSUES
Before giving his update on water monitoring, the Water Resources Master Plan, and other water resource matters in the County, Dale Bugenig, Consulting Hydrogeologist on water monitoring, began by expressing his appreciation for having worked with Commissioner Ithurralde for the past 8 years.
Bugenig related that the Central Nevada Regional Water Authority held its quarterly meeting in Reno on December 12th. Bugenig said the CNRWA has been “trying to push what they call a water strategy for the State” and for the meeting brought in speakers from the adjacent states of Utah, Arizona and California to have them show the Nevada folks what they’ve been doing in their water strategies. 130 people registered for the event. Bugenig observed that Utah is the farthest ahead, while Arizona is a mix of prior appropriations and Bugenig described California as a “free for all” which until recently had no groundwater regulation but passed regulation this October. Bugenig gives the State of California and associated entities fifteen years to implement the regulations “and then it will be the attorneys’ retirement and enrichment program” as it “will be debated in the courts for the next 100 years.
Turning to ground water monitoring in Eureka County, Bugenig discussed a graph showing three representative water wells in the valley showing a general downward trend. Bugenig found it interesting that in the period between 1986 and 1992, the water level trend kind of leveled off and that occurred with a 20 percent decrease in irrigated land with the water levels declining at a lower rate.
Bugenig pointed out a reduction in pumping really affects the trend line, but noted that extending the line out into the future shows that “at some point there’s going to be a crisis.”
Chairman Goicoechea asked where Bugenig sees the crisis based on his model.
Bugenig said, “Things start to go south in 2030 to 2040,” adding, “It’s not going to happen tomorrow or even in my generation” but characterized it as “inevitable,” forcing bringing water in, reducing pumping, or having “the hammer over everybody’s head” come down: “the State Engineer curtailing pumping based on priority.”
Bugenig characterized reduced pumping as “the baby steps that we can take to extend that” since when pumping is reduced the “line extends out into the future.”
Bugenig said the “take home point I’d like you to think about is just maybe a small change in irrigation consumption” which it “takes work to do,” can “move those lines out farther into the future until some groundwater management program gets initiated. Our options are bring in water in from outside the Basin coupled with a reduction in irrigation” which “at least allows us more time to manage what might happen out in the valley.”
Bugenig also related that an internal draft of the Water Master Plan has been given to Jake Tibbitts and Abby Johnson is also reviewing it to make sure it’s consistent. Bugenig said the 280 page document “took on a life of its own” with some 150 maps of springs, streams and water levels with everything differentiated by basins.
Eureka County Commissioners approved:
Adopting a resolution honoring the Eureka County High School Academic Olympic Team as 2014 Nevada State Academic Olympic Champions;
Expenditures of $655,048.10 including Payroll of $309,073.01;
Signing the Liaison Officer Designation Forms designating Eureka County’s Chief Administrator and Liaison Officer Tina Hubbard for the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Nevada;
Broadband contracts and/or contract renewals;
Renewing the Interlocal Contract between Public Agencies with the Nevada Public Employees’ Deferred Compensation Program and completing the Designated Representatives form;
Adopting a Proclamation designating January 2015 as National Radon Action Month in Eureka County;
Accepting the job description for Deputy Recorder-Auditor I/Deputy Assessor at pay range 117 as a shared position between the Assessor and Recorder/Auditor’s office, utilizing existing employees, and resulting in a net minus one full-time employee in the Assessor’s office;
Moving the IT/Network Analyst supervisor role from the Recorder/Auditor to the Assessor;
Amending the 2014 EUREKA COUNTY CODE, TITLE 4, LICENSES, PERMITS, AND TAXES, by revision, modification, and extension, by amending CHAPTER 50, COUNTY ROOM TAX, to clarify there are no exemptions or exceptions other than those listed in Section .040, and all matters properly related thereto;
Directing Natural Resource Manager, Jake Tibbitts, to keep working on comments on the Administrative Draft for the Mount Hope Project POO Amendment.