Commissioner Etchegaray attended a Budget Hearing on the 11th, a DNRPCA meeting on the 16th while Commissioner Sharkozy Feb. 8 attended a Search & Rescue, Feb. 9, the Crescent Valley Volunteer Fire Department meeting; Feb. 11-12, he attended Nevada Works meetings with the State saying unemployment is down for the State of Nevada. Chairman Goicoechea also attended the Budget Meeting on the 11th; and on the 12th he attended the Sage Brush Ecosystem Council and on the 16th he and Jake Tibbitts met with Barrick officials regarding water issues with Cortez and Horse Canyon.
Regarding the Sagebrush Ecosystem Program and Nevada Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation Plan, Chairman Goicoechea said there was a “really good response at the State level to the $1 million kick-it-off conservation credit thing. I personally want to thank Jake and the Conservation District for all the work they did on behalf of Eureka County. Eureka County put a lot of projects forward. I think there were 22 or 24 altogether; so, where that is, Jake. We’ll review those April 7 and 8; 7th for sure, because I guess I have a dance recital I wasn’t aware of so I’ll have to shorten that meeting. And then we’ll make a recommendation going forward on partial, full funding on some of those projects going forward. That is encouraging.”
Goicoechea said they had a “robust discussion” with the BLM over implementation of “how theyre going to roll all this LUPA out” which “they have no idea.” Goicoechea expects a guidance document that applies to the habitat. “They were trying to back away from it: ‘Well, no it’s overall and we’re going to look for this.’” Goicoechea encouraged the DOI to “send something in writing outlining what we were hearing at that meeting.” The response he got was the “best they could hope for was a letter from the State Director of the BLM” which letters Goicoechea said historically “don’t pack any water.”
He understands there are ongoing meetings facilitated by USF&W over how objectives are met regarding grazing that are invitation-only to which he wasn’t invited. “There’s a lot of stir right now about what’s been going on” and thinks “there are some winners and losers being selected by our federal partners.” He knows there were discussions in Washington, D.C. between the Governor’s office and the Interior Department trying to get clarification on mineral withdrawal with proposed changes to the withdrawal area for minerals “trying to free up stuff within the SFA.” Goicoechea said the next meeting will be April 7.
NUCLEAR WASTE UPDATE
Abby Johnson, Nuclear Waste Advisor, gave an update on Yucca Mountain.
“It’s pretty quiet out there. I think people in general are waiting to get through the election year and find out what happens. Nevertheless, at the Federal level, the DOE is doing two different things that seem to be disconnected from each other. One is, they have started an initiative to determine what is ‘consent- based siting’: what does that mean?; how does it work?” as the Blue Ribbon Commission had recommended consent-based siting as one of its recommendations but failed to define it which is “a challenge when you have a locality that wants a facility and a state that doesn’t.”
Johnson watched a kick-off webinar in January as the DOE holds meetings spring and summer with a June comment deadline on answering questions on consense-based siting on how it should work and doesn’t know why the comment deadline is in the middle of the hearing process. The DOE is reaching out to states and local governments, tribes and NGOs to informally talk about how it might work. There is supposed to be a document by the end of 2016. “It seems to me that it’s worthwhile to watch and I will probably put some comments together based on our years of experience” but is “sceptical about an effort that starts in year seven of an administration that is going to end and what could come of it.”
He said, the DOE is investigating starting a project in North Dakota drilling 18,000 in crystalline rock for waste storage but only did a contract with the University and didn’t inform the Governor or “the local folks so they’ve already run into some of the problems that consent-based siting would take care of it they had a process.”
“The other thing that’s pending is the final Supplemental EIS from the NRC. They had to update the EIS for Yucca Mountain and there were draft comments” and “we’re waiting for a Final and to see what NRC is going to do with it and how they responded. That’s about it at the Federal level. At the State level not too much going on. I just checked in with them recently and they’re sort of watching these developments as well. At the County level for our program, I’m continuing to monitor the news and the E news that we get and there’s emails out which I hope are helpful and continue to monitor developments. I wanted to let you know that even though we are no longer in a contractual relationship with Rick Moore, our long-time transportation and emergency response adivsor, I have the ability in my contract to sub-contract” and in April or May Johnson is going to ask for permission from the Commissioners to sub contract with Moore to go to a meeting with the DOE related to transportation he has been going to on Eureka County’s behalf for years “where the best information is gleaned and also to have him available for some review work and the monitoring that he has been doing for us.”
Ron Damele, Public Works Director, let the Commissioners know NDOT is working on the shoulders of SR306 and that the EPA will be in Eureka the first week in March to do geotechnical analysis on a parcel above town and will have an excavator in town, assuming snow melt makes the work feasible. Damele said there was Red Card training in Crescent Valley for Public Works and Road Crew as well as a few volunteers. There will be a chief and assistant chief change for the Dunphy Volunteer Fire Station with Dan Gralian retiring and Dallas Kelly becoming the new chief and George Huntington the assistant chief.
Damele said there were issues with the AWOS at the airport and new parts came in and were installed. Damele said there should be a final billing on the Justice Court remodel at the next Commission meeting. “We’ve been spending quite a bit of time on budget preparation” and “looking at contracts for buildings” to “see if we can do anything there.” Janitorial bids for all three facilities were received and will be before the Commission at the next meeting.
Mike Sullivan, EMS Coordinator, reported since last report 17 calls in Eureka and 12 in Crescent Valley, 8 over last year. “Crescent Valley, in particular, is far ahead of where we were last year” which Sullivan attributed to weather. Sullivan said staffing in Eureka is stable but people who have been inactive for a year or more will be asked “to turn in their stuff.”
Staffing in Crescent Valley remains critically low. A new driver is going through the emergency vehicle operations course. Sullivan said he met with REACH Air Medical that bought out Summit Air Ambulance which has completed their licensing process with the State and FAA, which will continue to accept Summit memberships. There have been availability issues that “hopefully will get resolved.” January 29th, “we had a very long day” with a “lot of accidents up on the freeway” which was closed due to the incident. “Everybody responded in the north county” and Sullivan “got tasked by the Hazmat Team to be Medical Section Chief on the Hazardous Materials incident up there.”
He was impressed by the professionality and said, “We’re very lucky to have such professionals as our partners” The State EMS program is transitioning to a new electronic patient care and record keeping program and staff has begun training and configuring the program with a lot of data entry and Sullivan hopes to have it fully implemented by April. “It’s kind of different than the Med-Media program we have right now.” Sullivan said, “It’s quite different than what we were used to.”
COUNTY GENERAL FUND
Clerk/Treasurer Bev Conley reported the General Fund Dec. 31 balance was $13,927,093 with revenue of $455,465 and disbursements of $817,177 which left an ending General Fund balance of $13,565,380.”
“Using a half million dollars a month. Doesn’t take long to figure it out,” said the Chairman.
“No, it does not,” said Conley.
EUREKA COUNTY COMMISSIONERS APPROVED:
Expenditures of $1,065,752.04 including a pass-through to the School District of $658,121.33; Setting a Budget Meeting for March 7;
Adopting a resolution to augment the Assessor’s Technology Fund for the 2015-2016 Fiscal Year with excess funds from the previous year in the amount of $148,208.00;
Accepting the recommendation from the ECEDP to appoint David Pastorino to the vacant seat representing southern Eureka County on the Economic Development Program Board;
Authorizing the contract with Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Forensic Science Division for forensic services for Fiscal Year 2016-2017;
Appointing Nona Kellerman, who currently serves as an alternate member, to the seat representing ‘public taxpayers’ on the Health Insurance Committee;
A contribution of $1500 to the Eureka County High School annual scholarship drive for the Class of 2016;
Out-of-state travel for the Natural Resources Manager to attend the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching (CARET) meeting in Alexandria, Virginia, March 7-10 as Mr. Tibbitts has been appointed as a Nevada CARET delegate by the Dean of the University of Nevada, Reno, College of Agriculture, Biotechnology, and Natural Resources (CABNR) with full expenses for travel, lodging, meals, and per diem to be paid for by CABNR.