• Will Jones read a letter to the commissioners about the corruption of politicians and bringing back a write in ballot.
• Kendall Harris asked about what the county can do if there is an abandoned/vacant property that is in need of clean-up or repair.
Commissioner Jerrie Tipton advised Harris to go to the building inspector and file the correct paperwork.
Harris would like the commissioners to revisit the plan of improving Main Street.
• Penny Johnson asked why there were no signs in the desert where many locals have been dumping trash in the desert. Commissioner Cliff Cichowlaz stated that there is no fine for dumping. She would also like it known that there needs to be highway signs at Walker Lake where the bighorn sheet have been hit.
Terri Knutson with BLM handed out calendars to commissioners and those in the audience.
She reminded the commissioners that the RMP closes on April 27. Tipton stated that Mineral County is making a comment. Cichowlaz stated he wanted to look at it before Tipton sends it in.
Knutson invited the commissioners to go to the field with her regarding drought in Nevada.
The Walker Lake ramp is still on hold. There are two visions for the ramp, after a conference call with BLM, there will be an onsite visitation with a new group of engineers. Knutson invited the commissioners.
QUARTERLY STAFF REPORTS
Cherrie George stated that Care & Share is operating under seven grants. Nevada Department of Transportation was in town two weeks ago and was able to close out last year’s grants. George will now begin to request NDOT money now. George told the commissioners they were awarded $249,000 in grants and have currently been awarded $124,500.
Emergency Management was represented by Pat Hughes as Fire Chief T.C. Knight was out of town. The POOL/PACT grant is for new bags for all ambulances in the county. Cichowlaz wanted to see the bags put into the old Tri-County building for “just in case” scenario.
Mike Trujillo said that he has met with Leavitt Construction and has all the information finished for the USDA grant. He advised the commissioners that his department had not been doing a lot with the Forest Service grant as he has been busy with the lights at the Little League field. Cichowlaz responded to Trujillo in that he has heard a lot of positive response from people and that Mt. Grant Electric has left a legacy for these kids. Tiny Cardenas, for whom the field is named, his children are happy with the progress.
Jason Cardenas, with Hawthorne Little League, has said that they are trying to host All-Stars here. Trujillo stated that they will be laying concrete in various places at the field.
Discussion about the sidewalks near the local schools was discussed as were grants for the projects.
Trujillo stated that the Airport Committee has been asked to have a 20/20 discussion about projects and they will not lose their $150,000 entitlement money.
Larry Grant informed the commissioners that Hawthorne Utilities had been recommended that they were awarded $72,000 for a master plan. His understanding that is once the list goes to the governor, it is rarely denied.
The fencing project for Mina and Luning is three-quarters of the way finished and they should be done by June.
The cement tank for Hawthorne Utilities up on Dump Road currently has some hairline cracks in it. He has been looking into options.
Sheriff Randy Adams informed the commissioners that they have received the new breathalyzer’s. They have submitted the reporting and it has been accepted. He is currently waiting for the reimbursement.
The POOL/PACT grant for ballistic vests has been awarded. Officers needing vests have been fitted.
The Brazos Electronic Ticketing is currently in the phase of being personally built for Mineral County. Next phase is to get the system into Justice Court.
STOP grant for the investigator is plugging along. The investigator and three deputies went to training in Louisiana for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. The STOP grant paid 100 percent for that.
The sheriff’s office has a grant in the infancy stage for off-road vehicles. The grant helps with enforcement of unregistered off-road vehicles or any calls that officers make “off road”.
Cichowlaz gave Adams a form for Homeland Security grant funding.
Barbara Owens with Park & Recreation told the commissioners that she is awaiting the awnings for Lions Park. After they are received, she will order play equipment.
George informed the commissioners that Care & Share is submitting for $74,000 for NDOT grant. Last year, NDOT granted Care & Share $77,000. The application process has been streamlined. Tipton made motion for grant 53-11. Motion carried.
May is Older American Month and George stated that they are focusing on volunteerism for older Americans. At the Care & Share, she is hoping to focus on those volunteers that help out at the center, play cards or just help out. The proclamation passed. A signed copy will be delivered to the newspaper office for publication.
A complaint was filed that the senior garden may compete with a local business. This project was requested by the seniors as one of their projects. George contacted the U.S. Department of Agriculture and spoke with a lady regarding senior voucher system. The seniors cannot redeem their vouchers at the Care & Share, but the garden is their project and they will reap the benefits. No government funds were used for the project. All supplies have been volunteered or cash donations have been received. Tipton asked if there was anything preventing the seniors from harvesting and selling items at the local farmers market. George explained that yes the seniors can sell at the market, but if selling the same produce as the market, the price would have to be the same as that of the market.
Joshua Rupert’s business license has been turned back to the sheriff’s office for his Crystal Dig mobile vendor license. Linda Larsen, Administrative Secretary for the sheriff said he had been informed to get permission of land owners before setting up shop. Mike Fontaine said she told Rupert he must have a letter of authorization on his person, where he is operating the business. The license was accepted contingent upon the restrictions as put forth by the commissioners, building inspector and sheriff’s office.
Thomas Henderson with Healthy Trees was approved as presented with notice that the fire chief can do spot inspection of mobile unit.
Penny L. Johnson with Squeaky Clean Car Detailing was approved as presented.
HVAC SYSTEM at FIRE STATION
Trujillo looked at the HVAC system at the Hawthorne Fire House it is the same one that has been there since the building was built. An invoice of $1,000 has been paid and the unit is still not fixed. The air conditioning will not get to the front offices (like dispatch and chief office).
Cichowlaz asked if the size was an issue.
Trujillo answered yes. Hughes said that each time the unit is recharged, it leaks back out and Leavitt Construction is unable to fix the leak. The unit is completely down.
Cichowlaz asked why not call an HVAC repairman. Trujillo stated that Leavitt’s son is an HVAC repairman and they still cannot find the leak.
Trujillo informed the commissioners that Knight had spoken with Christine Hoferer, Auditor-Recorder, and that she may have found some funds. Leavitt gave an estimate for the 20 year old unit.
Both Hughes and Trujillo fell the unit is undersized. The upstairs of the firehouse is cooled by a swamp cooler.
A quote from Leavitt Construction was presented for $14,931.
Trujillo brought in Hoferer for discussion.
Cichowlaz said, “I’m not in agreement, yet. It’s amazing when we want to do something else we won’t find any money but if it’s for [sic]…we find the money.”
Money is in capital project funds per Hoferer.
The replacement of the cooling/heating system was approved unanimously.
DELINQUENT TAX MAILINGS
Lorraine Haight, Clerk read into record that 534 first year delinquency taxes notices mailed. Fifteen of those notices were returned undeliverable. 167 second year delinquencies tax notices mailed. Sixteen of those notices were returned undeliverable. 67 critical third year delinquencies tax notices mailed. Eight notices were returned undeliverable. 67 critical year third year delinquencies tax notices mailed. Seventeen notices were returned undeliverable. The commissioners accepted the notice as read by Haight.
With statute, the third year delinquent taxes will automatically revert to the county trust on June 30. After in trust, the county can hold a tax auction.
Cichowlaz stated that it is about $500,000 in uncollected taxes. Trujillo stated that the county used to clean up around town until another business, with a demolition license, began operation within the county.
PUBLIC ADMINISTRATOR and PUBLIC GUARDIAN REPORT
Public Guardian, Mike James, reported to the commissioners that his office is now up and running. The office was furnished with personal items with very little being vouchered out. James states he needs a computer as for now he is operating on a tablet.
Cichowlaz told James to talk to Sean Rowe, District Attorney, to use forfeiture monies.
The guardian is now managing eleven clients. James has met with Richard Munger, Mt. Grant General Hospital Administrator, about getting some bills cleaned up with one of the guardianships. James states that the ward is in the skilled nursing though she did not fill the exact criteria when she was admitted by the facility.
There are currently four properties in town. The property is sold and the monies collected for fees set forth by the guardian. Any remainder goes to the ward to meet her lifestyles. One will be sold on May 6.
Cichowlaz asked who audits the guardians’ accounts. James said that district court oversees it once a year.
Each ward has separate accounts set up which are not audited by the county. James stated that right now there is no specific auditing system besides Medicare and district court.
James was advised to go in front of the Hospital Board to get the two wards currently at Mt. Grant General Hospital settled.
Beth Cichowlaz, Public Administrator, has two open estates but since 2010, there were ten estates that were open that hadn’t had anything settled. One case should be closed out by May. The other is unknown as to when it will be settled.
Currently, Ms. Cichowlaz is able to get rid of two vehicles. If another estate settles, there is another fleet of vehicles that can go up for auction. She will Blue Book the items.
Tipton asked what the statutes are on disposal. Ms. Cichowlaz said that she can dispose of it in a yard sale, auction or private sale.
Public Administrator is for anyone that dies without a will. Only four percent of the monies collected are kept as a salary for the public administrator. The rest goes to pay off the debts of the person.
With a witness, Ms. Cichowlaz goes through the residents and secures the valuables. She then locks the home down with a padlock. She keeps the home locked down until a person comes forward to claim the estate.
Tipton advised her that wills are on file in the clerk’s office.
Cremation for an indigent death is $1,300. To date, there have been three cremations.
Once the bills are paid a percentage, the county may be paid back from any remaining balances.
Lora Myles, senior attorney, has been helping Ms. Cichowlaz with public administration accounts.
The cost of towing is expensive. Trujillo told Ms. Cichowlaz that the county has a tow truck and could help on the cost of moving the vehicles.
FIBER CARRIERS in MINERAL COUNTY
Broadband to rural Nevada act is in force. The hospital, casino and school now have fiber into their businesses. Fiber Carriers sold a fiber to AtomSplash. If the county wants to get fiber, the services are now available. The representative will leave a card.
CARSON CITY DRAFT RMP
Tipton has gone through half of the document. She would like to review and comment, then bring it to commissioners and send it off as a Mineral County document.
96 percent of Mineral County is federal use land. The restrictions on the public lands negatively effects economic use, recreational use and personal use.
Cichowlaz responded to Tipton that he feels Mineral County should not get involved. We are talking about ourselves. The special interest groups need to comment.
As a cooperative agency, Mineral County has the agreement, Tipton states we need to comment.
Cichowlaz doesn’t think any of the other counties will respond. Tipton said that Lyon and Churchill Counties are in the process.
“Lyon County lies. Put that on the record. They said we don’t want any wilderness blah…blah..blah…then they turn over how any tens of thousands of acres because they want the mine? That is flat out a lie.” Cichowlaz said.
“That is basically what they were told, “said Tipton.
“I would rather you do your analyze based on Jerrie not on a commissioner,” Cichowlaz advised.
“Oh but Clifford, I can’t,” Tipton said.
All the lands with wilderness characteristics were not presented by BLM, it was presented by Friends of Nevada Wilderness, Tipton advised. They want 300,000 to 400,000 acres of wilderness.
“I agree with them,” said Cichowlaz.
“I can understand that, but they are not as truthful as anyone else,” Tipton told Cichowlaz.
The document is 4,000 pages. Tipton will get her ideas to Cichowlaz and MacBeth for review.
Tipton explained the loss of revenue from Ormat Wild Rose that Mineral County lost due to the BLM restrictions.
The loss of OHV and ATV monies to Mineral County could be impacted due to restrictions.
Cichowlaz told Tipton that 95 to 98 percent of the places listed, no one can get to. Tipton explained there are roads all over.
“The true place with honest to God 5,000 acres or more beautiful lands with wilderness characteristics is right out here on the Excelsior’s right next to New Bomb,” Tipton told Cichowlaz.
“New Bomb will be a thing of the past within 20 years,” explained Cichowlaz. “It will be less than that when they decide on it.”
The original RMP was drafted 40 years ago.
TOURISM AND CONVENTION BOARD
A letter of interest was received from a person in the community. Terry Rideout, from the El Capitan Lodge and Casino. David L. Cook from the El Capitan resigned. Rideout’s letter of interest was accepted.
HOSPITAL BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The position is an elected position. Michelle Dow seeks the seat. Her letter of interest was read into record. The commissioners appointed Dow to the position.
PARK AND RECREATION BOARD
Haight read a letter into interest from Kathy Trujillo. The commissioners accepted her letter.
SEAL WESTERN REGIONAL DRUG COURT RECORDS
Wayne Pederson, Public Defender, explained to the commissioners that records of former Western Regional Drug court graduates had not been sealed under former Public Defender, Paul Draculich. Pederson explained that no records were sealed. 37 records in total. Pederson explained that due to the contractually aspect, the county could be held liable if graduates have applied for a job and were denied due to records not being sealed.
Pederson’s proposal was to bring a claim against Draculich’s malpractice insurance. After that Pederson could deal with the insurance company and seal the records for whatever the insurance awards.
Cichowlaz asked Pederson to explain the sealing process.
Pederson explained that you file a petition with the court and get an agreement with the district attorney’s office. After it is accepted there are certified copies sent to various agencies where that record may be stored. It is about a six month process.
Kunzi explained the sealing process. She stated that her office had received the list and not all of the graduates were eligible for sealing due to not completing the program or picking up other charges while in drug court.
Kunzi raised concerns about using Draculich’s malpractice insurance as to her understanding, a former district attorney and district judge both refused to sign off on some of the cases for sealing. The District Attorney’s Office has since went through the list and prepared the proper paper work to begin the sealing process on those that qualify.
Pederson claimed that this does not meet with the statute where the defense attorney should be the one filing the paperwork, not the district attorney.
He feels that the prosecuting attorney doing the sealing and possibly later, asking for an unsealing, would be a conflict of interest.
Cichowlaz asked what should be done.
Pederson explained that it is a conflict as the district attorney’s office is picking the ones they feel are eligible for sealing and also preparing the paperwork. He explained they are on “both sides of the fence”.
Tipton question those graduates that might be in disagreeance of sealing of the record. Kunzi said either the graduate successfully finished or not.
Those who were not represented by Pederson but by former public defenders would need to get an attorney or meet with the district attorney in order to get their files sealed as they are not Pederson’s current clients.