Commissioner Sharkozy attended a Crescent Valley Volunteer Fireman’s meeting on Nov. 22.
Chairman Goicoechea met Nov. 28 with POOLPAC in Reno to discuss their contract and plans moving forward. Proposals to change their contract will be brought forward through the budget cycle. They discussed marijuana and concerns for Eureka County as an employer and what happens if someone shows up to work “recreating” which is not permissible. They went over a notice that went out with paychecks outlining “where we are as a county.”
On the 29th, 30th, & 1st, the chairman attended a collaborative training session with the Governor’s Office where progress was made on how to make changes to land use plan amendments in Nevada. Goicoechea said, “There was a lot of learning that had to get unlearned in the first couple of days. By the final day we did get somewhere.” Being addressed are conflicts with mining, wildlife, fish, “ourselves and how to mesh that all together.” The rest of the week Goicoechea was involved in addressing the Navy Base expansion, sage grouse, wild horses, and the BLM’s Planning 2.0 “we’re having shoved upon us and a path forward on how we’re going to do that.” Goicoechea represented the Farm Bureau at the cattlemen’s meeting and worked with Jake Tibbitts on fire emergency stabilization fire closures and sees the grazing land use plan amendment being implemented every day.
Goicoechea discussed correspondence received from the “current contract holder of our medical facility,” Nevada Health Centers, who “want something in writing that backed away from our contract.” Goicoechea noted the commission had “instructed them to come back on the 20th with hard numbers and I am not going to move away from that. That was also part of the fun last week. I’m going on vacation for the next six months,” the chairman joked, “and am not going to answer my phone.”
Road Superintendent, Raymond Hodson, reported the dozer was out at Roberts Creek pit, and they had a couple of days of snow removal. The North End crew has finished up the Rose Ranch and Maggie Creek Roads, spent a couple of days in Crescent Valley posting signs, and are working on a small gravel haul with Barrick on the Frenchie Flat road “going up towards new rigs they put up there.”
Ron Damele, Public Works Director, reported the utility systems are “working fine.” They met with the FAA Nov. 30 and they approved the categorical exclusion and Lumos will be doing the grant paperwork for this fiscal year and the plan is to do the airport job at the same time as other maintenance jobs are done. Lumos’ design work paid for out of the airport grant and that should be ready for consideration by January which will include pavement maintenance for the airport.
The recommendations for the county-wide street maintenance program will be ready for consideration and will need some assistance from the county engineer but most of the monies will go into the work. Damele said there was a “fairly significant water leak under the slab at the pool and they are not going to dig it up” but “will reroute it and don’t expect the pool will need to be closed.” Also, Damele said the Mt. Tenabo repeater was down due to weather related damage to the solar panels and has been “‘McGyvered’ back together” and they will spend time in the Spring rebuilding the solar set up.
Millie Oram reported everything “is good” at both Senior Centers with the Eureka Center having served 645 meals in November, 34 per day, and Crescent Valley 442, 23 per day; and together the centers deposited $12,858.91 for November. The Eureka Christmas Lunch will be Dec. 15 and in Crescent Valley Dec. 16 which will be the last parties until May. Asked about the lower meal counts in Eureka, Orem said a number of seniors have gone for the winter and one passed which accounts in and of itself for 22 fewer meals per month.
NUCLEAR WASTE ADVISOR
Abby Johnson, Nuclear Waste Advisor related there is a “high level of uncertainty” regarding whom the new administration will appoint as the new Energy Secretary. It is expected, Johnson said, “That person will have more emphasis on oil and gas and traditional sources of energy,” adding cryptically, “With uncertainty comes certainty.” Johnson noted that Yucca Mountain has now been receiving more attention and she is “seeing it in articles we’re getting.” Communities with waste, and commercial reactors are expressing an attitude of “now’s the time; let’s get on with it; it’s a new opportunity.” Johnson said there may be a new Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee with a “new contender” being Congressman Walden from Oregon who’s been “pushing hard to get Republicans elected to the House.” Johnson said, “It remains to be seen but that’s an interesting possibility.” Walden, from Eastern Oregon “is very experienced and savvy as well.”
Turning to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Johnson said, “We participated in a study” on “ what it would take to restart licensing” involving Affected Units of Local Government, Tribes and other parties in the licensing,” and while she hasn’t heard anything sees it as a “signal that Congress and the NRC is thinking about how to restart licensing and how much it would cost.” Johnson expects new contentions to be filed. She participated in an Affected Units of Local Government phone call involving all ten counties initiated by Nye County. Johnson said a letter needs to be drafted “to the new Secretary of Energy when that person is announced to lay-out the statutory case for oversight funding” and addressing the “need for finding for Affected Unit of Local Governments for participation and participation in licensing.” Johnson said, “Nothing happens until after Jan. 20 “with the letter to be drafted in January” for “us to review and go from there.”
Johnson turned to the subcontract with Rick Moore, which ends in December. Johnson said, “It’s really good we still have Rick on board because if Yucca is revitalized, transportation is a key piece of that.” Johnson came asking for permission to subcontract with Moore for the second year of her two-year contract “to make sure he’s still engaged and involved.” Johnson sees that in 2017 there will be more engagement with other Affected Units of Local Government and the County will “be asked what our thoughts are” on the Yucca Mountain project in general and there is a possibility that the Carlin Corridor may be talked about more if the Caliente Corridor is still blocked.
NATIONAL RADON ACTION MONTH
Gary McCuin, Extension Educator, came before the commission for them to approve designating January 2017 as National Radon Action Month in Eureka. McCuinn said 31 percent of properties in Eureka have tested over the action level with potentially 8 out of 20 homes having a problem. Radon is odorless and hard to detect other than through these kits you put down for three days. The Extension Office will be handing out free kits from Jan. 1 through Feb. 28. McCuinn said winter is an excellent time to do these tests because of pressurization in the house. Mccuin said that radon is “not something that can’t be fixed” by changing ventilation in the house or exhaust air. McCuinn said the differential where you suck in the radon gases from the rock can happen in a motor home and bringing in outside air can bring in radon. McCuinn said, “It varies to a large degree but is worth finding out.”
Jake Tibbitts, Natural Resources Manager, recently attended a Central Nevada Regional Development Authority meeting where there was “a lot of discussion on Diamond Valley.” The State Engineer gave a report on pending water issues throughout the state and focused on water related legislation coming out and bills put forward by the State Engineer’s office, one of which has to do with over-appropriated basins and tools available under groundwater management planning which could have bearing on Eureka County.
Goicoechea related he was at a meeting where State Water Engineer Jason King spoke saying he will not deny applications that impact stock-water rights which while sometimes “a couple of gallons a minute” there are “a lot of cows you can water off” that. Goicoechea said, “There were sparks at the meeting because Eureka County was singled out and it was not appropriate.”
A Ground Water Management meeting was to take place at the Opera House, Dec. 7 where the county’s proposed Groundwater Management Plan which was sent to the State Engineer and Deputy Administrator and has been received back red-lined will “be a main topic.” Tibbitts said there were “not really any hot button issues” although the State Engineer wants to see a reduction in any water that would be banked, water not pumped in a year, saying that the plants continue to evapotranspirate that water but Tibbitts didn’t think the science behind that was “technically sound” as “water left in main drawdown area will fill the cone of depression.”
The BLM’s Planning 2.0 new mining regulations have been finalized and at “the 11th hour” were “pushed” to get things under the current administration finalized. Tibbitts is “wading through” the 367 pages “to see what it all means.”
Tibbitts said 7 horse and fire rehabilitation decisions have been coming out from the Elko BLM within the last two or three weeks. While Tibbitts said some don’t have a Decision of Record yet where the BLM has made a final decision “it’s cut and paste” with the BLM “implementing Table 2 objectives” meaning every one that has the decision in greater sage grouse habitat must restore habitat to meet Table 2.2 habitat objectives including post fire grazing decisions where livestock are held off until fire objectives are met. Tibbitts is “interested to see if Table 2.2 objectives have to be met before grazing can return” which “could be fifteen years.”
Tibbitts said, “It all comes down to sage grouse: everything whether it’s a wildfire” or “range improvements…every single one is coming down to sage grouse.”
Scoping comments on the Navy’s proposed expansion of the Fallon Range Training Complex Modernization are ready and due Monday. Tibbitts thanked Abby Johnson for her help and Tom Young of Lumos for providing “quite a bit on airport related impacts.” The comments were also an agenda item for NRACs Dec. 7 meeting to see if they want to add anything to it. Tibbitts doubted they’ll make any changes.”
Related to the BLM’s McEwen Gold Bar Project Preliminary Draft EIS, the County’s comments related to water and AUMs. Tibbitts said the EIS “is pretty silent on those same requirements for county policies that relate to state policies” including the state sage grouse plan discussed in relation to the conservation credit system. Tibbitts knows the BLM is not following the plan, but is required to describe how the EIS is consistent with the state plan. Tibbitts said McEwen “has bent over backwards with us” and doesn’t want “to do anything to endanger” that relationship but “if the EIS is silent on the state plan it doesn’t give us anything.”
Goicoechea said, “I think have to push it or we’ll be right back here.”
Some AUMs will be permanently and others temporarily removed. The County is asking for mitigation for AUMs that may be lost and that Roberts Creek be recognized as a recreational area. The BLM is saying there are no improved campsites in the area but Tibbitts noted all the wide spots in the road are where people park RVs. Tibbitts said a lot of the water issues County hydrogeologist Dale Bugenig focuses on are to make sure the EIS is consistent with the water impact analysis and ensure hydrogeologic assumptions are accurate.
Tibbitts said while McEwen mining’s impact may be small, the EIS doesn’t frame the impacts in the context of if Mt. Hope moves forward. Tibbitts said while the EIS discusses wild horses, grazing receives no consideration. Tibbitts said a specific comment is that the BLM needs to write an addendum to address lost livestock AUMs for ranchers. Access is an issue and Tibbitts said they need to work with the BLM to see which roads would be destroyed and “if there is an existing two track we may claim them.” Tibbitts said the County needs to be involved to ensure the BLM does not use a back door approach to claim two tracks and handed “it to McEwen for bending over backwards” and “taking the extra effort to do it right.” The Commission approved Tibbitts comments on the Gold Bar PDEIS.
EUREKA COUNTY COMMISSIONERS APPROVED:
An updated job description for EMT III involving minor language changes made to the job description to conform to the new scope of practice enacted by the State of Nevada;
Normalizing salary ranges for the following EMS positions: EMT II at range 116 and EMT III at range 117, the current ranges paid for these positions which will not result in an increase in salary for any employees but is needed to memorialize correct salary ranges in the official records of Eureka County;
Signing the Certificate of Expenditure of Funds for Federal Fiscal Year 2016 relating to the direct payment grant from US Department of Energy for the Yucca Mountain Project;
Adopting a Resolution directing the County Assessor to prepare and publish a list of all taxpayers on the secured tax roll in the County, along with total valuation of property on which they will severally pay taxes, pursuant to NRS 361.300;
Adopting a Proclamation designating January 2017 as National Radon Action Month in Eureka County;
Paying up to $3,000 to Ruby View Pit-Q (Riley Gaines) for catering the Crescent Valley Community Christmas Event to be held December 17th using pass-through funds donated by Barrick Cortez;
Waiving the facility fee for the Crescent Valley Community Center for the Community Christmas Event;
Authorizing the CVTAB to use $1,200 in Crescent Valley Activities Program funds to purchase supplies and treats for the Community Christmas Event;
Authorizing the CVTAB to use $450 in Crescent Valley Activities Program funds to purchase Visa gift cards as prizes for the Christmas Home Decorating Contest;
Information Technology Manager job description;
Setting the salary range for the IT Manager position.