With Chairman Goicoechea not in attendance due to illness, Vice Chair Mike Sharkozy chaired as he and Commissioner Fred Etchegaray considered and addressed Commission business on Friday, June 19.
Commissioner Etchegaray reported as a Commissioner he travelled to Ely with Jim Gallagher to the Central Nevada Regional Water Authority meeting; on the16th, he attended the DNRPCA meeting; on the 17th a Ruby Hill meeting; and on the 18th, a Rec Board meeting.
Commissioner Sharkozy related that June 8, he attended the Search and Rescue meeting in Crescent Valley; on the 9th, a Fire Department meeting and training; the 11th-12th, he attended Nevada Works meetings where the upcoming year budget was set; on the 15th, Sharkozy attended the Great Basin Regional Development Authority meeting in Ely with election of officers; and on the 18th he attended ‘Cops and Kids’ in the CV Town Park; 19th.
HARD CONSIDERATIONS AHEAD
Mike Mears framed a conversation with the Commissioners about evaluating County-wide fees of individual departments. Mears advised the Commission target services the County provides partially funded by fees which do not cover the cost of operating with the fees currently charged. For instance, Mears suggested looking at the swimming pool, landfill, water/sewer, Opera House in comparison to other similar facilities in the region. Mears noted it has been recommended the County look at special event and liquor fees with consideration for encouraging “folks that have local businesses.” Sheriff’s and ambulance fees are being analysed as well within the parameters of Medicare/Medicaid and State regulatory limits.
Mears noted that to make revenue and expenses meet there must be changes on both ends, noting that “we’ve run out of room to shave department budgets. We truly have.” Mears said that every department’s budget is tight and said that by March or April of 2016 departments will find the tight budgets “hard to hold on to.” Mears said that something has to be done to increase County revenue or they will need to “scalp county services down to essential services.” Mears observed that he doesn’t want to see the County writing deficit budgets every year requiring dipping into reserves. Mears said they “watched what happened with White Pine County and pointed to Nye County which is “down to essential services because they don’t have money.” Mears asked, “What do we do? Are we willing; is this board willing to talk about raising fees, property taxes, other funding services or are we just going to keep talking about cutting?”
Commissioner Sharkozy said he doesn’t want to see County jobs cut and all agreed they don’t want to tell employees they’re doing massive lay-offs.
Mears said, “Revenues are in decline and until something pops with the mining industry we are flat” and expects revenues $1 million short of projected revenue by the State. Mears said with gold prices at $1200 an ounce “there is no purchasing going on” which “drives sales tax revenue” and he does not anticipate “getting much in terms of net proceeds in the future.” Mears sees no new value accruing to the County as “no one’s building anything.”
Sharkozy said, “It’s important for us to sharpen our pencils.”
Mears agreed, “Have hard conversations.”
Mike Sullivan, EMS Coordinator, related that since last report Eureka had 11 calls for service and Crescent Valley, 4 bringing Eureka to a total of 63 and Crescent Valley 24, or 87 County-wide year-to-date, 3 under the 90 calls answered in 2014. Sullivan reported EMS staffing is stable with one new driver added in Eureka. Sullivan noted that volunteers not available during the quarter have been placed on inactive status. There will be EMS Continuing Education classes in Eureka on June 29th and in Crescent Valley on the 25th. Sullivan related he travelled to Carson City on the 8th of June to submit licensing paperwork and while in Carson City picked up operating permits. The 10th-11th he displayed the multipatient transport in Fallon and gave a presentation on its development and implementation. Sullivan said the vehicle and presentation were well received by people attending the conference who complimented Eureka County on their foresight. The vehicle is currently on static display. Sullivan reported the County EMS service is beta testing a new electronic patient care reporting system. Refresher training is underway and Pine Valley Fire Department is continuing their emergency response training. The EMS provided stand-by coverage for the drag races on June 20.
SLAG REMEDIATION MOVES FORWARD
Public Works Director, Ron Damele, gave a report on the SLAG Working Group meetings and recommendations regarding the draft EPA Engineering Evaluation & Cost Analysis for the Eureka Smelter site. Damele said that at the last meeting on June 3, those assembled reviewed the second draft and debated the alternatives and selected an alternative for each operable unit. Richard Baker and Mariana Titus, owners of the slag dump at the north end of town have been actively engaged in the review of the EECA and Damele said the SLAG Committee’s position is that private property issues are between the EPA, NDEP and the private property owner to work out and that his understanding is that the Bakers and the EPA have addressed concerns between them.
Damele said the EPA will be back in August to remediate additional properties for an estimated 30 days and then the Agency’s goal is to have a completed engineering plan to take before the EPA priority panel that allocates funding for these types of clean ups. Damele said, if they receive funding they’ll be back as early as next year.. Damele said he and the Committee are working with NDEP and the EPA on institutional controls and on measures to be put in place after the EPA leaves town. Damele said it is a fairly complicated issue and “we still have quite a ways to go on that.”
Clerk/Treasurer Bev Conley reported the County began the month with a General Fund balance of $10,087,511, received revenue of $3,880,903 including net proceeds; made disbursements of $725,348 to leave an ending fund balance of $13,243,066.71.
Eureka County Commissioners approved:
Minutes of the May 18, 2015, Commission meeting;
Payment of $3,896.50 to NACO for Eureka County’s contribution to fund the Nevada Land Management Task Force, as approved on Oct. 7, 2013;
Funding to cover costs related to training (class registration and application fee), notary materials and supplies, bond insurance, and travel for Nona Kellerman to become a notary public to provide this service in the Crescent Valley area;
A resolution honoring student, Alia Minoletti, for her achievement in winning local, district, and state contests, and for her national placement in the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Patriot’s Pen Contest;
A 36-month contract for ambulance billing services with Health Services Integration, Inc.;
Carry-over of encumbered funds from Fiscal Year 2014-2015 to Fiscal Year 2015-2016 for the Ambulance/EMS Services;
Directing staff to temporarily suspend the Stevens Basin and Kobeh Valley Exploratory Well Drilling Project until such time as the State Engineer acts upon Applications 83948 & 83949;
Adopting a resolution to provide a stipend directly to the Volunteer Fire Chiefs within the Eureka Fire Protection District, specifically the Diamond Valley Volunteer Chief, the Pine Valley Volunteer Chief, the Beowawe Volunteer Chief, and the Dunphy Volunteer Chief, effective July 1, 2015, with the stipends having been budgeted for the 2015-2016 Fiscal Year;
Signing the Seventh Judicial District Court Cooperative Agreement for Fiscal Year 2015-2016;
Signing an engagement letters with Eide Bailly, LLP, for audit of the District and Justice Courts;
Out-of-state travel June 17th-20th for two Juvenile Probation Dance Instructors to attend BYU Clogging Classic Camp in Salt Lake City, Utah;
Augmenting the Fiscal Year 2014-2015 budget of the Eureka Town Water/Sewer Enterprise Fund in the amount of $1,500,000.00 in order to appropriate grants received from the Eureka County General Fund in a budgeted transfer to cover remaining expenses related to the Robins Street Project;
A gas line franchise pursuant to NRS Chapter 709 for Southwest Gas Corporation, c/o Davis Flaten Engineering Manager good until April 30, 2040;
The resignation of Dale Hornickel from the County Advisory Board to Manage Wildlife and authorizing advertising to fill the vacant seat;
Membership, including payment of membership fees, to American Lands Council and Western Counties Alliance;
Formal protest of the Greater Sage-Grouse Land Use Plan Final EIS;
Sending a letter to Nevada BLM State Director, John Ruhs, thanking him for his leadership in finding solutions to grazing conflicts within the BLM Battle Mountain District;
Authorizing Michael Mears, IT Network Analyst Supervisor, to negotiate a professional services contract with a proficient IT provider to service Eureka County’s IT needs, to be provided for review and approval at the next available meeting.