Commissioner Etchegaray reported that on March 23 he had an investment committee meeting; on the 25th he went to Carson City and met with the State Water Engineer and Senator Goicoechea on updates on SB81 with Dale Bugenig; on April 1 he had an update meeting with General Moly.
Commissioner Sharkozy attended the Crescent Valley Fire Department meeting two weeks ago.
Chairman Goicoechea on the 20th after the Commission meeting attended via phone a NACO emergency board meeting. On the 23rd to 27th he was in Washington, D.C., paid for on his own, and met with staffers of all elected representatives and met with Amodei and Titus. “We’ve got a lot of interesting things going on in Washington to say the least” with Yucca Mountain and Sage Grouse “big talking points.” Goicoechea said, “Senator Gardner introduced his bill” trying to “give the states a set amount of time to implement their state plans before a listing decision” but he doesn’t “know if it has enough legs to even get out of the Senate. It doesn’t sound all that promising.”
On the 30th, Goicoechea was back in Carson City for a regular NACO board meeting and for Local Government Day at the legislature. On the 1st, he returned to Carson City to testify although he ended up not doing so. On the 2nd, he and Tibbitts gave testimony on Bill 456, “our RS2477 bill” which would set a process by which counties can work with the AG and NACO to get clear title to 2477 roads. April 3, Tibbitts and Goicoechea met with the Department of Conservation & Natural Resources to work on “issues they have with our county coordination bill” and Tibbitts will be meeting with the District Attorney on that topic.
Raymond Hodson, Road Superintendent, reported, “We got quite a bit of roads bladed. We really could use some moisture to pack them back down,” having done Roberts Creek, Snowball down to the county line, Fish Creek, Rattle, Secret, Windfall, Perdiz, Willows and Tompkin Roads, Tompkin Summit, Spring Valley, Bailey and Bauman Pass, among others, and have a blade down the Sadler and started on the JD Road. All of the Road Department and Shop attended the Red Card training. Hodson said the North End crew spent quite a bit of time on the Dann and Spa Road and did the Tank Road and are headed to do the Geothermal Road and Frenchie Flats. Grass Valley, McCloskey and Rossy Pass have been bladed.
Public Works Director, Ron Damele, reported there will be an extrication training May 30 in Eureka with people from Crescent Valley and Beowawe expected to attend. April 7 interviews are being conducted for the Barrick-funded Road position. The record of survey has been completed for the Biale property and points have been set and they’re waiting for the map to be recorded. The School’s parcel map that’s “been before us for about a year and a half, that’s finally starting to move” with signatures being gathered; and to be on the Budget Agenda on April 13 for approval.
In looking for ways to conserve water. Damele said that in 2013 the entire water pumped for the town of Crescent Valley was 49 million gallons and of the 49 million, the park used about 16% or about 7.9 million gallons. In 2014 about 54 million gallons were pumped for the town with the park using about 6.7 million gallons. “We probably ought to work with the Town Board and folks on strategizing on ways to reduce the amount of water in the park either through reducing the footprint of the park; but what we want to do is reduce it in a manner that’s not going to end up with a big weed patch.” Damele suggested taking “this next year and try to get it figured out and then come before the board with a recommendation next budget year.”
Goicoechea encouraged Damele to work with Dawn Gann of the CVTAB to consider xeriscaping, sand and gravel and other alternatives. “We have to do something,” Goicoechea said. “8 million gallons of water is a substantial amount of water. We’re in a drought. We’re pumping it all. We have to treat all this water for arsenic” which costs the County and the community. “I don’t want to go into moving tennis courts and basketball courts and everything else. They’re there” and doesn’t want to see them taken out.
RAINE’S MARKET CONSTRUCTION
Scott Raine with his project manager, Bill Walley, came before the Commission to request modification of the condition on the purchase agreement between Raines LLC and Eureka County for property in the Eureka Canyon Subdivision (APN 001-221-08), that currently reads that the deed must be delivered after soils management is completed, and asked the Commission to instead agree to transfer title upon receipt of reasonable assurance that Raines LLC will comply with the soils management plan by having a provision in the construction contract (between Raines LLC and licensed general contractor) that the contractor will follow and complete the soils management plan.
Since June of 2014 when Raine and the County entered contract on the property, Raine has had drawings of the site done by a civil engineer; hired an architect to come up with drawings which are done; and has worked with their food wholesaler on organization of the project; and have “run into a little bit, maybe a lot, of a hiccup in the way of red tape” involving the purchase agreement.
Walley noted according to the contract the Soils Management Plan is required to be resolved in full before title is issued. Walley related that all the soil can be taken off the site and managed off site or it can be entombed which is the route they chose under the construction plan. The deed however is needed for Raine to get the loan. To move the dirt, mound it, and have permanent maintenance of the mound is a quarter of a million dollars. Raine asked for the County to allow them to do it during construction rather than prior to as it would be permanently entombed under the building. Part of the site has to be lifted and part has to be cut.
“That would be monumentally stupid,” said Raine. “We’re trying to avoid monumentally stupid.” Raine asked, “What is completion?” which has to be determined by the Commission. The contractor in the bid would be required to do the remediation. “This would be done in the first two weeks of the construction” with nothing else happening before at the very beginning of the project as the contaminated soil would be entombed in the first two weeks of the project.
The plan is ultimately to put caps, Walley said.
Raine said the EPA isn’t the problem and they’re committed to doing the soil management. “We’re ready to pull the trigger on it right now.” Raine has the budget down for the signs, the location of each ice cream case and diagrams of what’s going in the cases. “It’s no longer theoretical,” Raine said, “I am not asking for any money. I’m going to complete the Plan. I’m looking for a little assistance on the methodology and the simplest thing to do to get it done the fastest.” Raine is committed to doing the soil management and said he has a bank and back-up bank ready to go. He asked for help in changing the timing of the Plan completion requirement for title receipt to help him get his bank loan.
District Attorney Beutel said the Commission knows the property has been determined to be contaminated and Federal law does not allow for the County to transfer the obligation and liability for the contamination remediation.
“What I’m saying is, if you decide for whatever reason to transfer ownership of the property prior to the time of its clean-up, prior to the time of remediation” and prior to the time the Soil Management Plan is carried out, the County will be liable in the future as there’s no “guarantee the SMP will be carried out.” Beutel said, “The only hammer you have now is the ownership of the property.” Beutel recommended the County not do so as the County could have extensive liability.
Beutel said the County is the owner, has knowledge of the contamination and is responsible. “This issue is difficult to understand but it is coming up now” and the Board at the time of creation of the document talked about cleaning up the property themselves and it was agreed at that time they could create an agreement that requires before transfer of ownership the prospective buyer would be responsible for carrying out the clean-up.
When Beutel was asked if there was the possibility for inclusion of a clause in the contract to obligate a third party to carry out the soils management, the District Attorney said, “If there’s any movement by this Board” he “urged them to consider the only option that makes financial sense for the taxpayers of this county is that you clean it up yourself.”
A temporary mounding by the County was discussed as a possibility.
Chairman Goicoechea said, “We don’t want to clean it up, Guys, to be honest with you. Budgets are tight. We don’t want to spend that money to clean it up. We want to find a way that you can mass grade that; roll it over there and entomb it” but “Federal law doesn’t allow us to say, ‘Alright, the liability’s on you.’ It stays with us.” Goicoechea said, “We can’t sign it over to you until the soil has been managed. We can’t sign it over to you because the liability stays with us.”
Raine said, “I’ve got a big carrot out here in front of me” having extended major cash on the project and “the only way I’m going to get to the end of my rainbow is to get that portion of that site buried under concrete/asphalt, get a building up and functioning” to get it open in 2015, within the next 6 months. “You don’t need a hammer with me.” Raine said, “I’m going to get this done.”
Raine’s wife, Sylvia said, “I promise we’re not going nowhere. We’ve got generations here.”
The estimate for mass grading is a quarter of a million dollars which includes importing soil from off-site with the majority of cost being for soil importation.
Goicoechea said, “If you take the front and you cut it, six inches, ten inches, twelve” and “put it in the back, the front is now clean” and the “back where you put that isn’t and you only have to cap that back part. And I know you don’t want to do things twice, I understand that.” Goicoechea said, “If you were able to start putting some fill, put six inches of fill on that back where you just put that, you’re done. We release that instantly” and then “you have the deed and you keep going from there. We’re not saying all seven acres has to have a foot of pit run gravel on it. The plan allows you to cut the front, put it in that hole, put six or eight inches, whatever it has to be on top of it to get started, get it compacted and you can go.”
It was noted the value of the land was discounted to address the soil remediation.
Other costs Raine has had to address include the property not being properly graded for drainage which he’s taking care of to meet the requirements under the 100 Year Plan and are looking at doing work along Whistler Road extending the sidewalk by 100 feet at their sole expense. Raine said the County won’t have to do anything later.
Raine is needing to close on a loan and needs the County to help them work towards a temporary solution of the Soil Management Plan to secure that loan.
Beutel said an engineer needs to provide proof in a letter that the SMP has been carried out, saying, “That is what triggers the transfer of ownership.”
Walley said in talking with the person who wrote the plan there is no sign-off document required. “I know there’s a desire to have knowledge that it’s completed; we just have to follow how you handle the movement of the soil” and “how to keep you out of liability concerns and still be able to move forward with construction.”
Beutel reiterated the initial clean-up is necessary for transfer of ownership to the property.
The cost to have the soil engineer on site would be high, said Wallie.
Etchegaray said, “I’m not in favor of doing it if it’s going to jeopardize the County” and “can’t force myself to do something that’s going to put the County in a bad way.”
Goicoechea pondered whether there’s a way “to help you guys somehow get that soil moved and capped and we don’t have to sign off and give you the deed,” understanding Raine “needs to borrow some money” and is struggling to figure it out “but has to follow counsel” if counsel “says you’re on the hook and you’ll be liable under Federal law, that’s our legal counsel.”
Goicoechea said that Damele, and Beutel and Raine need to sit down and see what can be done.
Raine said, “The only reasonable, rational way to do it is to bury it under your building.” He’s “struggling how to do the intelligent solution” and “that’s where I’m asking for help.” Raine said he contested liability arising and asked what circumstances could happen to cause the County liability. “It’s too many ‘what if’s’ in that” that “will never happen. I’m going to get this bloody thing done.” Raine said, “We’re going to have this thing done. By the time you guys have your next meeting we’ll be rolling through the project.”
Sylvia Raine said, “It’s not good to lose all the money we’ve spent.” She said they have spent their savings up there “and don’t want to throw my savings in the trash because of something you not decide. Please help us. The power is up to you. You guys have the power.”
Etchegaray said, “I know it’s something you want done today but I think it’s something we can discuss; maybe come to something.”
“We appreciate your time letting us come and beg a little,” Walley said.
Raine said, “This is economic development. I’m not asking for any money. I’m going to complete the Plan. I’m looking for a little assistance on the methodology and the simplest thing to do to get it done the fastest.”
CRESCENT VALLEY LIBRARY
To lower the cost of the Elko-Lander-Eureka County Library System for the Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Fiscal Year, to do so the County is cutting four hours a week of library service in Crescent Valley. Jeanette Hammons, Director of the Library System explained that the hours in Eureka could not be cut because the Eureka librarian’s hours can’t be cut because the employee is benefitted. Goicoechea pointed out that the library hours in Crescent Valley had been increased by four and a half last year and so the cut returns Crescent Valley to the amount of hours prior to 2014.
DELINQUENT PROPERTY TAX NOTICE REPORT
Clerk/Treasurer Bev Conley reported that on March 18, 287 first year delinquent tax notices were mailed with 98 property owners having paid taxes since that mailing; 43 second year notices were mailed certified with 26 return receipts received with 13 outstanding and none of those have been paid; 23 third year notices were mailed with none of those having been paid as yet. Third year delinquents have a deadline of May 8 to not have an indemnent paper filed against their property; and then there is a June 1 deadline for a delinquent tax deed and two years later in April of 2016 those delinquent properties will go to sale. The Commission accepted the Affidavit of Mailing Delinquent Tax Notices for real property parcels, as issued by the County Treasurer
Millie Oram, Senior Center Sites Director, reported the Eureka Center served 920 meals, an average of 42 meals a day and said together both centers deposited $6,880.60 for the month of March “and everything seems to be going good.” She did not have the meal count in hand for the Crescent Valley Center.
QUARTERLY REPORT FROM SHERIFF LOGAN
In his quarterly report for the first quarter of 2015, Sheriff Keith Logan related 17 new bookings, with a total of 21 inmates housed, for a total of 414 inmate days, an average of 4.48, an increase of .53 inmates a day with two persons presently incarcerated, one on a local charge and one on a Duckwater charge who is being held for Nye County. 2,177 patrol incidents were reported, within the average, and a total of 82 reports of which 52% were crime reports; 3 coroner reports, and 7 accidents. 19 total arrests were made in the Quarter which do include some citation arrests of which 21 involved criminal citations and 10 moving violations. “We’ve had more than twice as many dog calls as we have had courtesy rides this Quarter” which “will skew our numbers a little bit.” Of the 194 traffic stops, the number of citations on average is about 10% of those who get a ticket, which is down for the last couple of year’s numbers. 911 calls have been seeming to come predominantly on Sunday while Monday is the lowest 911 call day.
Eureka County Commissioners approved:
Expenditures of $1,803,755.19 including Special Payroll of $22,082.05, Payroll of $417,303.50, a pass-through to the school district of $664,526.89 and Yucca Mountain expenditures of $14,178;
Adopting the Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Tentative Budget and having Commissioner Sharkozy sign the departmental top sheets with Commissioners Goicoechea and Etchegaray to sign them on April 13th for filing with Nevada Department of Taxation;
A Human Resources Service Agreement with Pooling Resources, Inc., not to exceed $38,000.00, for Fiscal Year 2015-2016;
Changing the regularly scheduled May 20th meeting to May 18th in order to comply with the statutory date for adopting the Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Final Budget and tax rates;
Authorizing the CVTAB to use funds from the current fiscal year’s budget to pay for training, travel, and materials to assign Kathy Kinkade and Nona Kellerman as notary publics in the Crescent Valley area;
An application from Mauro Palafox for a new residential ¾-inch water service in Crescent Valley located at 3018 Crescent Avenue;
Affidavit of Mailing Delinquent Tax Notices for real property parcels, as issued by the County Treasurer;
Ratifying comments on the Gold Rock Project Draft EIS.