Mineral County Commission Highlights

Mineral County Board of Commissioners highlights from Dec. 6

Safety message

Emergency Manager Patrick Hughes gave a safety talk in regards to holiday safety.

Public Comment

Public comment was heard from George Dean from Hawthorne Utilities submitted a step-2 grievance to the commissioners. He stated that this should be heard by the commissioners on the Dec. 6 agenda but had been removed from the agenda.

Chris Hegg, excused himself as a commissioner and explained that he would like to address the commissioners in regards to the problems within the assessor’s office. District Attorney Sean Rowe explained that Hegg is an elected official and cannot remove that hat. Hegg continued and wants the commissioners to look into problems with the assessor’s office.

Public Guardian Mike James stated that one of his employees ran into a problem accessing records and feels that this could have resulted in a possible problem. He advises that if you are asked to download an item, call the IT manager first.

Hawthorne Utilities Director Larry Grant discussed the use of the El Capitan hot water well.

Commissioner Jerrie Tipton participated in a meeting in Arizona. She stated there is a federal advisory board for drones.

Reports and correspondence

Deputy clerk Bonnie DeMars read a letter from+ Lawrence Worthen for signs at Walker Lake regarding discharge of firearms.


The commissioner minutes for Sept. 13; Oct. 3; Oct. 4; Nov. 1 and Nov. 15 were approved.

Business licenses

The following business licenses were approved by the commissioners: Blair Consortium, LLC. (Blair D. Chavin) and Briggs Electric Inc. (Jeff Perry).

Liquor license

The following business license was approved by the Mineral County Liquor Board: Veterans of Foreign Wars (Barbara Edington) at 890 A Street in Hawthorne. The VFW will be serving at the hospital Christmas party at the convention center.

Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Apparatus

Vern Watson, Mineral County Fire Chief met with the commissioners to purchase an Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Apparatus (ARFF) for a nominal fee. Watson explained that the fee to purchase this item is $500. He told the commissioners that a donor presented the fire department with $500 so there is no cost to the county. The ARFF will be stored at the fire department for now. He discussed training.

Commissioner Garth Price asked about the condition of the vehicle.

Chris Lawrence explained that this vehicle can be used for more than just airport firefighting.

Watson explained that there are currently three firefighters that are trained on the ARFF. Discussion of a memorandum of understanding between Mineral County and the organization using the airport.

Betty Easley addressed the commissioners about her concern about not having an ARFF at the airport. The commissioners approved the donation.

Airport advisory committee

Chairman Larry Grant of the Hawthorne Industrial Airport/Mineral County Airport Land Use Advisory Committee placed an item on the agenda to remove T.C. Knight from that board and fill the vacancy.

Grant explained that the board implemented a participation policy (miss three meetings – they are out). The commissioners moved to replace Knight.

Planning commission

Grant explained that Easley resigned from the Mineral County Regional Planning Commission. The commissioners would like to fill the vacant position.


Chairman Hughes met with the commissioners regarding notification of new members to be added to the Mineral County Local Emergency Planning Commission. Hughes stated that Knight is being moved to a “member at large”. The committee moved to add Lawrence as a member with Watson as his proxy and also Carol Lemiuex as the representative at the hospital.

Sign-on bonus

Sheriff Randy Adams explains that they have four openings and zero applicants.

“I don’t even get unqualified applicants,” Adams told the commissioner.

He stated that Humboldt County has an opening and their opening salary is $27 an hour. Mineral County salaries are completely out of the ballpark. Sheriff Adams would like to offer $1,500 for FTO and another $1,500 at the end of the year.

“Do you have money in your budget?” Commissioner Tipton questioned.

“I’m down four officers, which is why I have money in my budget,” he explained.

The commissioners allowed the sheriff’s office to allow a $3,000 sign on bonus. Half to be paid at the end of their FTO, the other half at the end of the probation.

Shores Drive at Walker Lake

A representative of Thomas Kilsby met with the commissioners regarding road repair on Shores Drive at Walker Lake.

He explained that the road needs to be repaired after a water line was repaired on the road.

Grant explained that the Shores Drive was not turned over to the county but instead Walker Lake General Improvement District should be responsible for the repairs.

Public Works Director Eric Hamrey explained that a private contractor cut the road, the contractor should be in charge of the repairs.

Discussion regarding contractors cutting county roads and repairs not being made.

Tipton explained that this should be brought up with Walker Lake General Improvement District.

She again questioned if there is an ordinance regarding the cutting of roads. She would like a discussion with Mark Nixon and Building Inspector Mike Fontaine to discuss this issue further.

911 surcharge

There was no public in attendance regarding the adoption of an ordinance to amend Mineral County Code 3.34 to increase the 911 surcharge from .25¢ to $1 per telephone line per year.

Walker Lake Advisory Board

Barbara Edington met with the commissioner about reorganizing the advisory board at Walker Lake. Commissioner Tipton told Edington to get the current by-laws on file in the clerk’s office and then come back as an organized board and begin looking over and updating the by-laws. Discussion on open meeting law training.

Election equipment

Clerk-Treasurer Chris Nepper asked for a resolution authorizing a medium-term obligation (or installment purchase agreement) in the amount of $91,000 for the purchase of new election equipment.

This is mandated equipment.

Susan Maple, explained that the cost of the equipment is such a large burden to only be used every two years.

The resolution was read into record.


Commissioner Tipton placed an agenda item to be heard reading, “For consideration and possible action relative to becoming a cooperating agency with the BLM re: Greater Sage Grouse Land Use Plan, planning efforts.”

She gave the background on the item.

Commissioner Tipton would like to become a cooperating agency with BLM and have NACO be a joint representative.

The motion was made by Commissioner Hegg and passed.

Firearms within township limits

The commissioners met in regards to adopting a proposed ordinance to limit the discharge of firearms within township limits or within 1,500 feet of a residence.

Heidi Johnson of Walker Lake said, “Stop letting them shoot in my front yard.”

District Attorney Rowe explained some questions that have been brought forth to him.

Jim and Sandra Essenpries.

Expired fire equipment

The commissioners discussed the replacement of expiring fire department equipment. Watson presented the breakdown price for the equipment.

Recorder-Auditor Christine Hoferer asked if the company supplying the equipment will work with the county regarding financing.

Commissioner Tipton explained to Lawrence and Watson to meet and work on medium-term financing on the equipment.

Commissioner Tipton made a motion to move forward with the medium-term financing to replace outdated equipment at the firehouse.

Regional Transportation Commission

Commissioners Tipton and Price met as the Mineral County Regional Transportation Commission with Hamrey and Donna Oberhansli.

Oberhansli gave a fuel report.

Discussion on ARFF impact on the Hawthorne Airport.

Discussion of truck parking near McDonalds.

Hamrey would like to get the mileage of roads from Harold Dimmick for a more accurate mile count.

Discussion of purchasing new graders for the county.

Discussion of adopting roadways and alleyways in the master plan.

Hamrey discussed working with Paul Trujillo at SOC to fix potholes and Hamrey will do shoulder work on Thorne Road.

The commission looked into an ordinance regarding the disturbance of roadways. Commissioner Tipton asked Hamrey to deliver to the contractor as addressed earlier in the meeting.

Nuisance complaint

A nuisance complaint was filed on parcel #001-201-04. The property is located on 118 West Third in Hawthorne. Building Inspector Mike Fontaine explained the nuisance complaint process. The commissioners directed Fontaine to look over the property and report back to the commissioners.

Sale of parcel

George Pomeroy petitioned the commissioners to sell APN: 06-640-36 in Mineral County which is located in the Babbitt area. Commissioner Tipton explained that the property is tied up in a lawsuit against the county. The commissioners directed the Pomeroy’s to discuss property with the Hawthorne Airport Board or Woody Isom.

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  1. Christine Smith says:

    Why is the county accepting an old and outdated ARFF truck that is going to require more money to update, repair and modernize? It would be more smarter to just buy something more modern and not have to repair it every other month.The practice of buying old and junk fire equipment in hopes of fixing it is only costing the taxpayers more money in the long run. This $500 crash truck will need to be updated and modernized to pass the mandatory FAA inspection. And the FAA will not accept the typical circus antics of Mineral County, But these small details get over looked by the department and county board. Sad, another FAIL on the part of the Mineral County Fire Department and Board of incompetent Commissioners.

    • I wonder if Mineral County has checked with D.R.M.O. (Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office? I know that Nevada State services gets, for free, all types of used equipment. Some nearly brand new. Just wondering…

  2. Christine Smith says:

    Dear Board of Commissioners- Do you purposely try to push bad ideas and waste money as a social experiment?? Or are you going for the record of “running the county into the ground”? Offering a new Sheriff Deputy a $3000 signing bonus is only going to give them and extra 3000 dollars when they leave your department for a better paying agency. Its one thing to get FREE law enforcement POST academy training courtesy of Mineral County, but its another bonus to get $3000 when you leave for a better paying sheriff job in the state. Do you really think that bonus money is going to go far after the first year on the job? No, its not a real incentive at all.

    Why waste bonus money on top off losing sheriff deputies? Instead, the minimum you can do is raise the starting base salary by $3000 and increase it to keep pace with the cost of living. Right now, you keep losing deputies to other better paying departments, but giving them an extra $3,000 to go as a “bonus”. Its time the Mineral County Board of Commissioners stop trying to cut corners and apply band-aids to real problems. At this rate, Mineral County will be the town of Mayberry with just one Sheriff and Barney the Deputy.

    The fire department is a circus and the sheriff’s department is shrinking. Wake up Mineral County, you have a real Public Safety crisis on your hands.

  3. Christine Smith says:

    I wanted to add some things below…

    Why would anyone not want to be a sheriff deputy in Mineral County. Let’s face it; the county Board of Commissioners is corrupt and we know it. From hiring close friends and family to key county positions to a now admitted “problem in the Assessor’s Office”. Why would someone want to risk their whole career, livelihood and jail time working under a dysfunctional circus of these “community leaders”? As a sheriff deputy, they would be called to investigate one of their bumbles or capers and spend countless hours investigating and documenting one of their underhand crimes. Only to later have my report, creditability, integrity and hard work buried or challenged in an effort to discredit them and the crimes they have documented. Who would want to work in such a dirty environment like that and risk their careers over some clowns in office for near minimum wage and a joke of a signing bonus….obviously no new applicants for this job.

    One issue that I find concerning is what if a sheriff deputy was ever shot or seriously injured on duty? The local fire department is inexperienced, dangerously under staffed (one member is not even a current EMT) with volunteers typically staffing the ambulances. So getting help to an “officer down” call is a gamble. There are no Paramedics in the county, so they will not get any Advanced Life Support in the field and an air ambulance takes a long time to launch, fly in, land, load up and fly to a regional trauma center. The last option would to load up the injured deputy into another patrol car and drive to the local county hospital in Hawthorne. But who is going to treat the injured deputy in the back seat while the only other deputy on-duty is driving the patrol car? And since staffing is so low, your back up could be over 30 minutes away in Mina or Luning. I hope this never happens, but I feel bad for the current deputies on the job who have the deck stacked against them.

    Mineral County is in bad shape and things are not getting better. There is a real public safety crisis on hand and I wish President Trump would come and drain this local swamp. So much corruption, nepotism and mismanagement in this county, you just wonder when this carnival is going to finally end.

  4. With our economy basically in the ditch, I believe that our tourism board needs to attempt bringing something to Mineral County like summer fun series. We have one of the best lakes for summer fun in the state with a near empty lake at this point, but plenty of room to play for all. The possibilities are endless, from racing, both human and vessels from massive engine driven to human powered. Summer events can be held like a yearly active weekend flea market (with our economy in the ditch, many are looking for a deal) or with the amount of open beach, maybe a summer concert (the Yerington country music thing didn’t start out big either).
    Economic development needs the backing or our county commissioners rather than having to fight them.

  5. The Board of Commissioners will not approach any outside vendors to come to Hawthorne because they want to keep it a small town atmosphere. This is sad because now the town of Hawthorn is suffering financially and dying. There needs to be more growth and infrastructure to support the town, public safety and the schools, but the looks like the Board of Commissioners is not interested or they would have reached out already.

    What Hawthorne needs is a Del Taco, Bakers or KFC for the truckers that come through the town. This would stimulate and improve the local economy and save the county’s current economic crisis.