On Oct. 25, Commissioner Sharkozy attended a fireman’s meeting; on the 26th an insurance meeting; and on the 3rd & 4th participated in CDBG grant reviews although going forward he won’t have to be on that committee any longer.
Chairman Goicoechea on Oct. 27 was in Reno presenting at a stakeholder meeting on wild horses and spoke on the State Plan and in the afternoon sat down with the Department of Agriculture and the Farm Bureau about asking for an extension on comments on the proposed Navy Base expansion and was working to help affected permittees get comments in. Presently the Navy is saying they don’t have to compensate effected permittees. Comments without extension are due the day after Thanksgiving. The County, Farm Bureau and Cattlemen’s Association have all asked for an extension.
Update on Road Department Activities:
Assistant Public Works Director, Raymond Hodson, related that the Road Crew finished up blading Antelope, Baumann’s, Frenchie’s, 6th street, and are blading 3 Bars and Willows Road which took a lot of abuse and will take time to put tback together. The crew cleaned the cattle guard on Roberts Creek Road, ran the mower and sweeper in Diamond Valley; and bladed the airport in Crescent Valley., Hodson noted the north end had a lot of rain. They are working on the Rose Ranch Road, and blading up on Maggie Creek will take a little time. Hodson said the burn went through there and now it’s flooded and has black goo. Goicoechea asked how “Barth’s holding up?” Hodson said, it’s in “good shape” thanks to good materials used.
HoBson, speaking in Public Works Director Ron Damele’s absence, said all the utility systems are “working fine.” He said all the components were delivered to Crescent Valley to replace the “well stuff from when the well went down” and parts are in hand in case the well goes down. Hodson insulation’s been installed in all the meters which have been winterized. Hodson attended a Nov. 3 end of fire season meeting with the BLM where no major issues were discussed. The BLM gave their weather upgrade saying it’s going to be warm and wet. The BLM provided a revised cooperative agreement and plan for review. Hodson said the notable change is from the USFS. He related that Public Works had a supervisor meeting on the 20th and snow removal was discussed including the fact that they now have to plow snow around the subdivision. Hodson asked the Commissioners to review the snow removal policy since as it stands in Crescent Valley it now requires a foot of snow for the plow to go out. Hodson also had a meeting with the National Weather Service which are also predicting “a wetter but warmer winter but that’s what they said last year, too.” Hodson said the Opera House had 771 visitors in October, the Sentinel Museum, 276, and 77 swimmers used the pool.
Sheriff Keith Logan gave 3rd his Third Quarter of 2016 report noting they saw 17 booking and 22 inmates were housed, or 3.88 inmates per day, which is 2 inmates per day more than a year ago. The Sheriff said 3 persons entered pleas and are being sentenced in December. Logan said there have been 98 animals calls and he had a discussion with Fish and Game to try to promote education on licensing and tags as an increase in hunters has led to gates being left open and cows being hit.
Millie Oram, Senior Centers’ Director, reported, “Everything’s going good at both Centers” with “no issues,” although her “dishwasher is having an issue” with the “guys working on getting it fixed. “ The Eureka Center served 700 meals in October, which is “down,” with some Seniors having been ill. Crescent Valley served 445 meals, 22 per day and both Centers deposited $3,016.70 for the month of October. Oram invited the Commissioners to the Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 17 and in Crescent Valley on the 15th.
Lisa Hoehne, Eureka County Recorder reported for the Quarter, the Recorder’s Office received $950.30 in copy fees, $173,230.35 in fees collected; saw $142,294.50 sent to state, 30,935.85 retained…373 documents recorded and became passport agent on Sept. 15.
The Television District has hired Eagle Communications to do secretarial duties, tv district, think problems with cell service are microwave issues from mountain top to mountain top seems to be at&t having majority of issues now.
In a discussion regarding the issue of Fiscal Year 2016-17 salary increases for Eureka County elected officials and a request to increase the salary for Justice of the Peace Schweble at the same percentage approved for other elected officials, including a determination of the effective date if approved. NRS 4.040 designates the Board of County Commissioners as the authority for setting or increasing salary or compensation for justices of the peace.
Schweble said he would “never ask for a raise unless” it was “tied in with other elected officials and tied in.”
Sharkozy commented that it was “not budgeted this year.”
Sharkozy agreed that the commission “didn’t budget it and can’t say go back and do do-overs on the deal.” He said if salaries should be increased “in the next two years, we’ll include you in.” The Commission will start talking about the budget in December.
Jake Tibbitts, Natural Resource Manager, told the Commission that since the last meeting on Oct. 24, the Groundwater Management Plan group met and they voted to move forward with sharing with the State Engineer the draft Plan for him to weigh in on.
Nov. 3, Tibbitts attended the Eureka Conservation District dinner and elections. Gary McCuin retained his seat as supervisor. Tibbitts said some 100 people attended the dinner and it “was a good time.” On the 4th, Tibbitts attended the SLUPAC meeting in Eureka where the representatives of the Fallon Testing Expansion also attended and they discussed the impacts of the push for land withdrawals. SLUPAC asked for a 60 day comment period extension with a focus on reducing the impact to users and the industry. Tibbitts and Chairman Goicoechea will be going to a Fallon Range Training Complex and Livestock Industry Permittee meeting. On the 19th, he attended the evening Livestock Advisory Committee to Manage Wildlife meeting as well as planning to attend NACO. Tibbitts related that Newmont sent out their invitation to their Newmont communication meeting, on the Wednesday, Nov. 16 at the Elko Convention Center beginning at 7:30 a.m.
Tibbitts is reviewing the Gold Bar Preliminary Draft EIS which is out for review until Dec. 5.
He and the board discussed the Stone Cabin water hauls by the BLM where the BLM is authorizing water hauls and and pulling drought EA utilization triggers and the County argued the time to impose “drought stuff is when a drought is going on.”
Tibbitts remarked that “they put out the final decision” but “this isn’t a Drought EA Authorization. The County commented that the BLM can’t waive from the terms and conditions of the current permit and Tibbitts said the BLM must be held to the permit. The BLM responded that there are no utilization terms or conditions in that permit and said it isn’t a drought EA action and said it was the “commonly accepted way to ensure management doesn’t damage the land but the final decision Tibbitts said is and says it is consistent with the Drought EA.
Since it is a final decision, the only thing the county can do if they so choose is to follow the official appeal process which is a “sticky situation where the livestock permittee agreed.” Tibbitts said he “wouldn’t recommend doing anything” because unless they have the permittee on board he cautioned appealing as “not advisable.” He said, “I hate to allow them to move forward with things like this but on situations like this I don’t think there’s anything the County can do. “ Tibbitts said the permittees agreement is “voluntary” but “if you want your water hauls you have to accept it. “ He hopes to “start seeing some better decisions from the BLM.”
Turning to the Final EIS on the BLM 3 Bars Ecosystem & Landscape Restoration Project, Tibbitts noted it is “completely a Eureka county project” on “750,000 acres” and the County had “major issues with the Draft EIS we weighed in” and met with the BLM “and sat down and went through comments and did a good job on working through our comments” with “many outstanding issues.” The County sat with the BLM person leading at the time “for a full day going through all items” with an agreement the items would be taken back to the BLM leadership and then they would have another Administrative EIS look.” Tibbitts left the BLM office “and never heard a peep.” And “all of a sudden” got the Final EIS and “none of the changes agreed to at the BLM meeting ever got in.” The BLM “individuals left” and the Final EIS has no comment period. Tibbitts characterized the science as “completely sloppy as far as range science” and said it “will impact ranchers” as there “will be grazing restrictions” and permittees will not be able to graze for a minimum of two seasons until resource objectives are attained.”
Tibbitts said the area includes the JD Road over to the Eureka County line, Grass Valley down to Hwy. 50 to 278 and the JD Road with Hwy. 278 the Eastern boundary with Hwy. 50 to the South. Tibbitts said it is much better than the Draft EIS and wants NRAC to vet it. The Final EIS is to be available October 31st which starts a 30 day review period ending around Nov. 20 to 21 after which a Record of Decision will be issued and Tibbitts does think the County should when the time comes ask for a State BLM Director review.
Goicoechea suggested the board “take formal action today to support a state director review” and asked for a motion from the other two commissioners and the board moved and voted to request a State Director review and to convey that information to NRAC.
In considering scoping comments on the Fallon Range Training Complex (FRTC) Modernization, the proposed action by the Navy to expand the FRTC through current public land withdrawal renewal, additional public land withdrawal, private land acquisition, and airspace modifications, Tibbitts said the main things the County is concerned about related to the expansion of air space is what it means. The County has asked the Navy to consider emergency flight, firefighting for centralizing fuel, and fire retardants, communications at the airport, radio coverage , agricultural aviation usage, crop dusters, for crickets, GPS. Tibbitts noted there is no guarantees “on how those guys fly” with “air space coming down to 1250 feet” with air space determined from ground level meaning they’ll literally be flying 1000 feet over Roberts Mountain. The Chairman and Tibbitts questioned the impacts to sage grouse related to sound levels since when the Navy is out doing war games that can be heard going on and they questioned the wildlife impacts. The County is also asking the Navy to consider how this will “foreclose on future energy development” in terms of solar, water and energy. The County is looking at cumulative impacts related to the Air Force and Nellis training and test range where there are potentially overlaps and precedence related to water rights, grazing, and mining claims that effect miners and ranchers. The County will ask for vibration monitoring in Eureka for buildings and foundations where they are potentially going supersonic and to ensure the sound doesn’t exceed 50 decibels as they fly out over a large area. When they break the sound barrier over Duckwater it can be heard in Eureka.
Tom Young of Lumos & Associates is a pilot who flies in and out of the airport and helped the County write comments when the Navy was writing their land use consistency plan and Young is assisting on the comments to the Navy.
Eureka County Commissioners approved:
Expenditures of $819,341 which included $4674 in Yucca Mountain expenditures, a pass-through to the School District of $78,600.18, Nevada d tax 376.78 to the Nevada Department of Taxation; $65,208 to the Nevada Division of Mining; and $4,446.47 to the Nevada Comptroller;
Public Works Mechanic I, II, III, & Senior Public Works Mechanic job description and corresponding range on Eureka County salary scale for each position, as follows: PW Mechanic I – Range 116; PW Mechanic II – Range 119; PW Mechanic III – Range 127; Senior PW Mechanic – Range 133;
The quarterly report showing $2,306 in mandatory ambulance bill write-offs for Medicaid and Medicare accounts;
Incorporating the two casual Justice Court employees into the recently approved; Abolishing the following Justice Court job descriptions: Court Clerk and Administrative/Department AssistanCasual I, II, III, IV, & Deputy job description;
Submitting scoping comments to BLM for the EA to be prepared for the Newmont Perry Pit mining proposal;
Accepting the invitation from the BLM to be a cooperating agency on the Barrick Cortez Deep South Expansion Project.