COUNTY IT UPDATE
Lester Keizer, related to the Commission that the county network status has been stabilized and secured. “It’s not a static thing. It’s an ongoing process” but “it’s now in a fairly good shape” with a ticketing system implemented so “anything that happens from a technology perspective that needs attention” is “funneled through the system” which “keeps a nice audit trail” to look at situations on particular days and is a good system for tracking, and hour accounting. Security parameters are in place both within and on the outside. Network infrastructure has been consolidated. Keizer said it’s working well in Eureka County and praised Misty Rowley for “doing an admirable job” and she received a round of applause for her “phenomenel job.” Keizer related that the system is monitored 24/7 and alerts during the night if there is an emergency that needs to be taken care of.
BCT said in about six months the county will hit a peak with the capacity and in six months will reconfigure the system with minimal down time.
BCT is trying to have one entire domain for the County which enables control of access and that’s in progress now. “Pretty soon everybody will be able to take advantage of that.”
A couple of months ago the Sheriff’s office was down and unsustainable for the next couple of years; got a server put in and now they’re good to go for another 7 to 10 years. 80 percent of the work BCT do can be done remotely from Las Vegas. Data is encrypted.
The email system now has eurekacounty.gov and within the next two months every County employee will have it.
BCT has brought cost savings of over $282,000 with the biggest cost savings in monthly services and support agreements with software that BCT provides. BCT is reconfiguring the network and the storage server for the Sheriff’s body cams; and is doing a data center cleanup and rewiring.
Commissioner Sharkozy attended the Firewise Event May 21 in Crescent Valley; the GBRDA meeting May 24 as well as a fireman’s meeting; went out with the seniors and had dinner with the Golden Oldies, June 2nd. Chairman Goicoechea went to Oregon the week of May 20th for the Western States Livestock Associationas part of his new position for the State of Nevada. “The Western States is really staerting to ramp up” and “have creatred new committees dealing with endangered species, wildlife” and “i’m encouraged. I thought we were on our own but it looks like we’re going to have some help” and he thanked the Veterans and Mike Mears for asking him to speak for Memorial Day and said, “That was quite an event.” June 23 the Chairman has been asked to testify before the House of Representatives about wildhorse management in the State of Nevada and in the West representing the County and Western Cattlemen’s. Goicoechea said, “Stay tuned. We’ve had a hard time getting a meeting scheduled.
Senior Centers Director, Millie Oram, reported that attending the National Association of Nutrition and Aging was “wonderful” and said, “Everything is working good. The girls did good there without me.” The Eureka Center served 866 meals in May, an average of 41 per day while Crescent Valley served 489, an average of 23 per day. Together the Centers deposited $10,502 for the month of May.
Raymond Hodson, Road Superintendent, reported the Road Crew completed blading East Antelope Road and moved the blade to Diamond Valley where they worked on Collingwood and the short roads, Halpin, Third, Fourth, and 101 to the 3rd Street cut-off Road as well as completing the Roberts Creek bypass and are now on the Henderson Pass and working on the JD and Horse Canyon roads and moving into Grass Valley. In addition, the Crew went to Mineral Hill before Memorial Day weekend. They worked Union Pass to the mouth of the canyon and moved to Grass Valley where the “road took a good beating” and is taking “some time to put back together.” In addition they worked in Palisade and on that cemetary and the roads behind Barth out to Frenchie Flats and moved to Maggie Creek. Hodson said May Clean-Up went well with it taking crew half a day in Eureka and five or six people in Crescent Valley working all day on Thursdays.
Public Works Director, Ron Damele, is currently reviewing the repository design provided by EPA looking at drainage issues around the town of Eureka. The operation and maintenance manual for the Eureka sewer system has been submitted to the State. Damele said the water system is working fine with the parks having a good crop of weeds. Pool lessons will take place June 14-17 and 21-24 from 9 a.m. to noon. He noted that Building & Grounds are doing the parks and fairgrounds with “everything going fine there.” He said the annual repeater maintenance will take place the last full week in June and will entail a county-wide radio reprogram which will “be a little expensive.” He said the BM BLM has changed their frequencies on Mt. Lewis and statewide EMS has a ground to air channel to be inserted. Damele said this won’t have to be done every year but a reprogramming hasn’t been done in about five years. He said it’s a “little bit of a challenge getting radios gathered up from all employees and volunteers” and noted, “We do have the capabilities to program some radios ourselves. It’s a little struggle but we can get it done.” He added that the BLM are going to start getting their base at the airport ready, and are filling retardant tanks and holding a drill.
Jake Tibbitts, Natural Resources Manager, reported on May 21st he attended the Crescent Valley Fire Wise Event which had “good attendance;” on the 23rd the main water rights group irrigators had their Groundwater Management Plan meeting and are “flushing out what they want to bring up moving forward with items of heated discussion over priority between junior and senior water rights” while working to “keep the community intact.”
On June 2, Tibbitts participated in a call from a group working on the Reid-Heller legislation over land conveyances with stakeholders working with Congressional delegates on land conveyance and wanted a list of Eureka County’s lands identified for BLM sales so Tibbitts sent them the BM Regional Management Plan and a list of lands including checkerboard lands.
Tibbitts reported the pinon-juniper cutting contractors started and have cut 740 acres of trees and are working on the Black Point chain. Tibbitts said the weed contractor sprayed through June 3rd and sent an invoice. Tibbitts is “pretty certain” they’e “burned through funds for this fiscal year,” noting millions of dollars are needed to do weeds and characterized the treatment as “doing triage.” Tibbitts said while in the past the Natural Resource Department gave out backpack sprayers and free assistance, this year they’re not able to do that.
Regarding the Diamond Valley adjudication process, Tibbitts noted that the BLM filed many claims in Diamond Valley and what Tibbitts gathered from the State Engineer’s Office is they filed public water reserve claims and appear to have filed vested pre 1905 claims and citing the Treaty of Guadalupe which would predate anyone’s use, an issue to be “grappled with moving forward.”
Tibbitts will attend the Eureka Firewise regular meeting on the 14th and on the 15th the Planning Commission meeting where they’ll “button up the Water Resource Master Plan” so it will be ready to be adopted; on the 17th he’ll attend the Central Nevada Regional Water Authority meeting in Ely with the USGS that just completed a study on water resources in Snake Valley, the valley in which the Southern Nevada Water Authority applied for rights; on the 27th, the Lt. Governor and NACO are hosting the next Public Lands Strategy breakfast in Las Vegas which the Chairman will be attending.
Regarding the current litigation Brief due by the end of the day, June 6th, Tibbitts had been forwarding documentation to the attorney on how the County has been effected since the Plan was enacted having to do with travel and rights of way and also on restrictions to grazing. Tibbitts sees an imminent threat with cheat grass high and dry high-heat days. He thought the “fire season’s going to start early” and because of grazing restrictions and sage grouse restrictions and not going out and getting cheat grass, the community is threatened.
Chairman Goicoechea noted the first fire in the District took place on the 5th of June.
Tibbitts noted the federal Supreme Court unanimously had a ruling that “folks could challenge the Waters of the U.S. rule without specifically waiting for all these discrete decisions” which Tibbitts characterized as a “timely notice” in “our benefit because it shows that these overarching broadscale regulations” can be challenged and “don’t have to wait for over-arching” review; “so they’re working that into the argument.” That was all Tibbitts had “on the litigation side. On the legislation side,” Tibbitts said the “House version of the National Defense Authorization Act includes State plans to be implemented. Tibbitts noted the Senate is debating it now; while the House passed that. Tibbitts related that the House version of the Energy Bill has “a small provision related to sage grouse” saying “that federal agencies can’t spend funding to write regulations regarding sage grouse.”
Considering items to present to the Legislative Commission Subcommittee to Study Water on June 7 in Dyer, Tibbitts summarized for the Commissioners his planned formal presentation related to Diamond Valley giving a background on Diamond Valley being designated as a Critical Management Area, the only Basin so designated in the State; starting with background on how Diamond Valley is over-appropriated, and outlining the statistics. With 200 wells in the Basin, 2/3rd’s of the County population gets water from Diamond Valley including the town of Eureka and businesses in town as well as springs that also get their water from Diamond Valley. The Basin has seen a 2 foot decrease per year since the 1970s. Tibbitts planned to highlight some positive things such as the building of a community that has the largest ground-water dependent agriculture in the State of Nevada; and has provided socio-economic stability when mining goes bust. There are $29 million in crop sales in Diamond Valley with 73 individual farms. According to the UNR study Dr. Tom Harris did, every job created in agriculture creates 1.6 jobs in the community.
His presentation then turns to the 1980s issue when the State Engineer sent a message to develop a ground water board and started calling for adjudication and proofs which was never finalized but heightened awareness from the County, users, and irrigators of water use and water applications. Tibbitts noted that much water-related Nevada case law comes out of Eureka County because of heightened awareness and the County has been able to work with mining and see water is developed in the proper way. Tibbitts presentation then lays out the robust monitoring network, funded USGS studies, and the movement towards a grounwater management plan.
Tibbitts’ history discusses how in March 2009 the State Engineer came and held a workshop and directed people to “take matters in your own hands” and “find solutions at the local level” which precipitated various groups coming together such as the DNRPCA and led the Eureka Conservation District to do more related to water in a period characterized by “a lot of talking and chewing ideas” including looking for “funding to retire water rights” and a proposal for an Agricultural Enhancement Program. It was realized that using county funds to retire the county tax base doesn’t make sense.
In 2011’s AB419 sponsored by Senator Goicoechea language related to designation of a Critical Management Area was passed which empowered local solutions and Eureka County supported. Since 2011, the County contracted with Hansford Consulting regarding the feasability of establishing a special district with a focus on water retirement and a set-aside conservation program incentive to not grow for a number of years with the underlying assumption being the goal of keeping the community and economy; claims for springs and ground-water rights to mitigate their impacts added a whole new wrinkle that “created a sense of urgency and futility for many people,” Tibbitts said.
The Spring 2014 State Engineer’s workshop focused on the Critical Water area with the push being for Diamond Valley citizens to “take the lead” with the Groundwater Management Plan being locally crafted and the Eureka Conservation District being asked to step up and lead the process. Tibbitts noted the process is not County led and his role as “the county-appointed manager is to facilitate.” He reiterated the County is “not leading the effort” but “has a seat and role but the water users are the ones” bringing the Plan forward.
He related that the Conservation District did a survey early on and sent a letter to every water right holder in the county and 74 percent of surveys returned supported the State Engineer designating a Critical Management Area without a formal petition by the people. Through workshops found the CMA issue would bring people to the table because of the statutory designation.
The State Engineer on Aug. 25, 2015 formally signed an order designated Diamond Valley as a Critical Management Area. A lot of ideas are being considered including putting an irrigation season in place, and designating crops. Professor Mike Young, who is Research Chair in Water Economics and Management at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Adelaide in Australia will be present before Tibbitts.
Tibbitts hopes to counter some of the Professor’s recommendations. Tibbitts and the Chairman had a call from Prof. Young saying he’d met with the State Engineer and the Governor’s office about testing his water conservation model on Diamond Valley and the Humboldt.
Young advocates a share system which Tibbitts noted the irrigators have not voted to adopt. Tibbitts said there are a lot of positives about the share system but also a lot of negatives.
Tibbitts intended to make clear to the Committee that Diamond Valley will not benefit from a “cut and paste from the Australian model.” Tibbitts said he’s “heard many times we’re adopting the Australian model and that’s simply not the case.” Tibbitts said a question is “why not simply follow prior appropriation retroactively and cut off all the juniors” who came on from the inception of development. Tibbitts said since prior appropriation wasn’t followed, going forward there will have to be flexibility to fix the situation with “flexibility to find the best balance” with local solutions applied “to the maximum extent.”
Eureka County Commissioners approved:
Adopting and signing Resolution Setting Tax Rates for Fiscal Year 2016-2017, to memorialize the tax rates for all taxing districts under the jurisdiction of the Board of County Commissioners, as set and adopted during the Budget & Tax Rate Hearing held on May 16, 2016;
Renewal of contract with Pooling Resources, Inc., for Human Resource assistance at a cost not to exceed $34,000;
A one (1) year extension to the existing BLM Agreement No. BLM-NV-CFPA-NVB0064-2014- 005, also known as the 2015 Annual Operating Plan for Cooperative Fire Protection Agreement between the Bureau of Land Management, Elko District; Bureau of Land Management, Battle Mountain District; and the Eureka County Fire Protection District;
A Senior Facilities Operations Assistant job description and corresponding Range 115 on the Eureka County salary scale combining the Facilities Director Assistant Manager position and the Museum Manager position into one job description (to be filled by two existing employees) in order to facilitate operation of the Opera House and Sentinel Museum with reduced staff due to budget constraints;
A request from Angie Negro to waive the facility fees for use of the Crescent Valley Arena & Rodeo Grounds for Gymkhana events to be scheduled this summer and a Gymkhana Series to be scheduled this fall,
Use of $2500 in Crescent Valley Activities Program funds to purchase trophies, awards, and/or prizes for the summer and fall Gymkhana events organized by Angie Negro;
A request from Chace Green for funding assistance to attend the 2016 National Junior High Finals Rodeo scheduled for June 19th-25th in Lebanon, Tennessee in the amount of $1000;
Accepting the renewal proposal from Nevada Public Agency Insurance Pool, and approve payment from Fiscal Year 2016-2017 funds;
Adjusting the Opera House and Sentinel Museum schedules, effective July 1, 2016, to a Tuesday thru Saturday work week, closed Sunday and Monday, open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed noon to 1 p.m. for lunch (with a variable work day schedule subject to modification due to approved events);
Accepting the renewal proposal from Nevada Public Agency Insurance Pool, and approve payment of $199,648.91, an approximate 5 percent increase, from Fiscal Year 2016-17 funds.