On Aug. 26, Commissioner Etchegaray and Jake Tibbitts went to Carson City to the Subcommittee hearing on water and on August 29th Commissioner Etchegaray attended the Groundwater Management Plan meeting at the Opera House. On the 19th, Chairman Goicoechea attended the Public Lands Interim Committee meeting in Carson City at the Nevada Legislature; on August 30th he sat in on interviews for the Assistant Controller position. Commissioner Sharkozy, on vacation, was not in attendance.
The commissioners accepted the Title Report and appraisal for APN 001-102-13, 11 North Main Street in Eureka. The property has been leased by the county for a number of years. The lease has expired and the family would prefer to sell the property to the County rather than continue leasing. The property serves as an Economic Development Kiosk with the train car there and based on the appraisal the commission motioned to make an offer of $15,000 for the property.
Newmont signed their Conservation Agreement with the State of Nevada and the federal agencies. Neither Chairman Goicoechea, Chair of the Sagebrush Ecosystem Council or the Vice Chair will be present at the SEC meeting on Sept. 13. “I have concerns with some of the language,” Goicoechea said and will do all he can to ensure the Conservation Credit System is used to calculate the debits and credits needed. Goicoechea noted he was reappointed to the Council and that Ted Cook, US Fish & Wildlife State Director, who has been a member of the Council is going to New Mexico.
Raymond Hodson, Road Superintendent, reported there is a blade working down the Sadler Road; they finished the Tompkin Road from JD to 3Bars and that blade is back on the JD Road which is seeing a lot of traffic due to the Tompkin Project. The contractor has made efforts to put water on the Tompkin Road. The Road Crew replaced a culvert on the JD Road where it comes out of the ranch and replaced a culvert on the Kelly Creek Road. They’ve been “brooming around town” and had the “brush beater” out in Diamond Valley. The Crew spent a couple of days preparing for the Fair. The North End Crew have finished the Barth Project and are working on the Rose Ranch and Dry Hills Roads. The other blade is on the Dann Road which is heavily trafficked due to mining activities. Hodson will be having a meeting with Barrick on the Frenchie Flat Road project on Thursday, September 8th.
Public Works Director, Ron Damele, reported the public water systems are working well and the EPA has removed the three stock piles of contaminated soil and have located the dirt in the repository. The Tenabo radio repeater is up and running that lightning took out. Buildings & Grounds crew is making good progress on building maintenance and have done some rebuilding of pumps and motors in the Opera House and Court House with the air conditioning working good just as the season changes. There have been scheduling challenges at the pool with school starting which has resulted in closures and may result in more closures. There was a wildland fire at MaggieCreek that burned about 10,000 acres with the fire starting in Eureka County but the majority burned in Elko County with a few out-buildings that got burned. 900 acres were BLM and the rest was private property. The fire burned across the riparian area at Maggie Creek.
Millie Oram reported she took 12 seniors to the Miss Senior Nevada pageant and “all had a wonderful time” and are “talking about going next year.” In August the Eureka Senior Center served 858 meals, 37 meals a day, while the Crescent Valley Center served 607, an average of 26 per day, and the Senior Centers deposited $2,184 and $7,277.05 for the month.
county phone system
Mike Mears, Assessor & IT/Network Supervisor, addressed the need to overhaul the county phone system since the equipment they currently have is no longer supported. The phone system primary call server went down recently and the county is operating on the back-up system which is also aged. “We have to move on this” because “it’s going to take a minimum of 3 weeks to thirty days to get a new system in place and activated.” Mears said in January quotes were requested from companies and “where we sit today, we have three quotes” ranging from $54,000 from CDWG that “would fit our needs but would be quite limiting” and Aspen Communications “came in with a quote of $112,667” which is “quite a set up” and is “way more expensive than we need” and have “discussed paring down with them.” They are also working with a company called Quest out of Sacramento that “will set us up with a platform” that “would set us up with a foundation that if we had to go all digital we’d have that capability sitting there ready to go.” Quest quoted $59,160 that includes replacing all the phones. Mears isn’t planning on replacing all the 135 phones on the network but will identify whose phones need replacing. The cost of the phones themselves is $24,000 which can be pared down depending on how many phones have to be replaced and the current Cisco phones will be back-up.
Mears plans to fully fund the phone system from the Assessor’s Tech Fund. The Commission approved Mears and Misty Rowley to pursue replacing the phone system for county offices and facilities for not to exceed $60,000 to be paid for out of the Assessor’s Tech fund.
Jake Tibbitts, Natural Resource Manager, reported on the Legislative Committee on Public Lands meeting saying, “There were no surprises at the meeting” and “they did take into account much of the input from Eureka County” and related to the RS2477 bill they approved sending a letter to the Governor and Attorney General that it is a priority for them to see the “perfection of these roads” and also approved sending a letter to the money committees at the Legislature to see that SB456 regarding RS2477 roads can be properly implemented. Tibbitts related that on August 23rd, the Forest Service Secure Rural Schools Committee met and monies are being released to Eureka County for weed control efforts on the forest on the Monitor Range. On August 26th, he attended the Subcommittee to Study Water meeting and the committee voted to move forward with the bill draft request for tools for critical management areas with a split vote along party lines. Tibbitts noted the State Engineer’s office is working on a stand-alone BDR with similar language and goals for critical management areas. The Committee voted unanimously to move forward with a bill draft request clarifying how the State Engineer can use adaptive management in his appropriations of water and how mitigation can work into that to remove conflicts. Senator Goicoechea and Senator Ford are working together to move the legislation forward and have committed to work with interested individuals including Eureka County to create “legislative language that doesn’t deroad prior appropriation but also allows for development of the water resources in the State in an appropriate way and honors existing rights.” Tibbitts said the Committee will also draft a BDR request for a state-wide call for proofs that will give a ten year time frame for everybody within the state who has a claim of vested right to bring forward those proofs.
Goicoechea asked whether there will be another opportunity 20 years down the road to offer proofs and Tibbitts said that depends on the bill language.
Tibbitts said one of the Committee’s action items was to put forward a bill requiring mining companies to tie a water right to pit lake evaporation and have pit lake evaporation factored in to the overall water balance in a basin. The Nevada Mining Association stood up during that portion and said they’ve been working with their members and the State Water Engineer’s office to bring forward a voluntary fix without legislative changes as the State Water Engineer can require that meaning the mining entities step forward for an application for a water right tied to the pit lake and the NMA will be bringing forward the proposed fix so the Committee took no action.
On Aug. 29 the Groundwater Management meeting met with a substantial number of the Diamond Valley water rights holders in attendance.
The National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board met in Elko on September 8th and 9th and on the 13th the Conservation District will be meeting and will consider the $5,000 match towards the proposed Diamond Valley Renewable Energy Study. On the 16th, the Central Nevada Regional Water Authority will meet by teleconference. On the 19th the Groundwater Management Plan full group will meet with USGS in attendance and presenting a layman’s overview of the Diamond Valley report as well as how individuals can access USGS data from the National Water Inventory Database Water System.
Tibbitts also noted the Fallon Naval Station Modernization EIS proposed action will extend airspace and include land withdrawals. A scoping meeting will be held in Eureka on October 6th from 5 to 7 pm at the Eureka Elementary School.
Regarding Sage Grouse, on Aug. 31, the BLM issued all their instructional memoranda related to their sage grouse plan while Eureka’s been arguing that’s what the NEPA process was for. Tibbitts said with the litigaiton going forward on this the Agencies are arguing that “we’re not impacted” but “we never had a clear understanding of how we would be impacted” and the “BLM did not know how to implement their own plan” and “had to develop seven instructional memoranda” outlining “what the plan means.” Tibbitts said the BLM’s press release says, “‘The BLM today moved forward on its collaborative effort to conserve Greater Sage Grouse by issuing instructional memorandums that clarify aspects of how BLM’s land use plans will be implemented.’ That’s what this plan should have been in the first place.” Tibbitts said the appeal process is gray and suggested to the board that they have a discussion with attorney Laura Granier regarding how the memoranda came out after the legal briefings were due in the lawsuit the County is party to.
Regarding wild horse issues in or affecting Eureka County including but not limited to Rocky Hills Fertility Control Darting, water hauls, over-population, horses outside of designated areas, and requirements being imposed upon ranches and mines, Tibbitts said it is timely the Wild Horse & Burro Advisory meeting was taking place and plans to take the letter he’s composed on the County’s behalf and highlight the main points and ask it be included in the record. Chairman Goicoechea related that he approved his recent testimony before Congress related to wild horses being provided to the Advisory Board. Aug. 29 a decision was received for the Rocky Hills HMA and Tibbitts wanted to point out that Eureka County could support fertility control with the caveat that the fertility control methods must not be in conflict with water law and not improperly using monitors with ulterior motives and doesn’t mean water hauling and fencing areas off.
Chairman Goicoechea said that the situation is an emergency and wants a request made for emergency appropriations to meet these needs and a request the BLM take emergency action to remove all horses and a request that the Director of the BLM and Secretary of the Interior go before Congress and request emergency appropriations.
Tibbitts on Saturday, September 10th is taking the Executive Director of the Wildlife Society and a woman from
Colorado who served on the Wild Horse Advisory Board on a tour to show them wild horse areas.
Goicoechea told “horse owners everywhere: vaccinate your horses for West Nile virus if you haven’t already one so.
Six cases in the last two weeks: five in one day. All in Elko County so far, but it’s on our back door. I would be very surprised if we don’t have West Nile in Eureka County; it’s just going undiagnosed and we saw two potentials again this morning it looks like but owners have refused to test for whatever reason.” Goicoechea said, “We’re getting close to a frost; maybe these mosquitoes will go away.”
Eureka County Commissioners approved:
Expenditures of $1,484,691.47 which includes Yucca Mountain expenses of $3300 and a pass-through to the School District of $664,802.31, and payments to the Department of Taxation for $330.90, the Nevada Division of Minerals for $111,110 and the State Controller for $19,422.57;
Denying any longer providing a liability account for Eureka Productions;
Upon review of the list of delinquent properties held in trust by Clerk and Treasurer Bev Conley, the Commission denied County acquisition of the properties.
The Sheriff to proceed with capital outlay purchase of MorphoTrak LiveScan Station (includes fingerprinting station, software and one-year warranty and maintenance) in the amount of $16,337.00, optional extended maintenance for an annual cost of $2,116.00, and black and white Tenprint Card Duplexer-two tray printer in the amount of $1,550.00 with an annual maintenance cost of $233.00, for a grand total of $20, 236.00;
Adopting a new fee schedule for the Eureka County Sheriff’s office, effective October 1, 2016, in order to correlate with fingerprint fee changes made by the State of Nevada;
A waiver of the County’s policy to allow Eureka Activities Coordinator, Cindy Beutel, to work
up to 40 hours during the week of the Arts in the Park event;
Signing Joint Funding Agreements with US Geological Survey for Federal Fiscal Year 2017 for continuation of Hydrologic Monitoring Program in the Mount Hope and Roberts Mountains Vicinity with Eureka County’s portion at $67,930.00 (total program costs are $110,475.00).